Gebr. Knauf KG (“Knauf”) and USG Corporation announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Knauf will acquire all of the outstanding shares of USG in a transaction valued at approximately $7.0 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, USG shareholders will receive $44.00 per share, which consists of $43.50 per share in cash payable upon closing of the transaction and a $0.50 per share special dividend that would be paid following shareholder approval of the transaction. The price represents a premium of 31 percent to USG’s unaffected closing price of $33.51 and a 36 percent premium to the $32.36 average closing price for the preceding 12-month period, both as of March 23, 2018, and a multiple of approximately 11.6x USG’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended March 31, 2018. The transaction was unanimously approved by USG’s Board of Directors. Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to vote its shares in favor of the transaction. As of June 11, 2018, Berkshire Hathaway and its subsidiaries owns approximately 31 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of USG.
The combined company results in a global building materials industry leader that will maximize Knauf and USG’s highly complementary businesses, products and global footprint to better meet the needs of both companies’ end-market customers. Following the close of the transaction, USG will continue to be managed locally in the United States, and Knauf intends to maintain USG’s existing corporate headquarters in Chicago as well as its facilities in North America.
Alexander Knauf, general partner of Knauf, said, “We are excited to enter into an agreement to acquire USG. As a long-term USG shareholder, we greatly admire USG’s strong brands, leading market positions in North American wallboard and ceilings and highly talented employee base. We look forward to building on USG’s strong presence in North America.”
“As a family-owned company with a long-term focused business outlook, we believe Knauf is the ideal partner for the business as we intend to make significant investments in USG’s operations and its people,” added Manfred Grundke, general partner of Knauf. “Our long-term investments will benefit all of USG’s stakeholders, including employees, customers and suppliers.”
Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG, said, “Our Board has worked diligently to evaluate all strategic options to maximize value for our shareholders, and we are pleased to have reached this agreement which provides our shareholders with significant and certain cash value. We believe this transaction will create new opportunities for both companies’ customers and will benefit USG’s employees who will be part of a truly global building products company. Alexander, Manfred and their team have made clear their high regard for our team, and we are confident that Knauf will help to ensure the long-term success of USG’s operations, brands and employees.”
The transaction is expected to close in early 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by USG shareholders.
The transaction is not subject to any financing conditions. The transaction will be financed from existing cash and committed debt financing.
Morgan Stanley Bank AG is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to Knauf, and Baker McKenzie LLP, Shearman & Sterling LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are acting as legal counsel to Knauf. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC are serving as financial advisors to USG, and Jones Day is acting as legal counsel to USG.