KS/WRK: Timing Agreement Duration May Indicate Divestitures Needed

Event Driven Takeaways

  • The DOJ has likely found issues with WestRock’s purchase of Kapstone which may lead to divestitures, according to several antitrust practitioners with experience in the industry.
  • According to one antitrust practitioner familiar with the industry, 75-day timing agreement shows that the DOJ has found issues with the merger that may need to be mitigated.
  • Capacity-cutting actions on the part of WestRock have led unions and lawmakers to urge the DOJ and FTC to carefully scrutinize WestRock for anticompetitive behavior and motives, including Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden.

As the DOJ and the companies entered into an agreement last month to allow more time for federal antitrust review, WestRock’s bid for paper rival Kapstone likely faces unresolved concerns at the agency that may result in divestitures, according to several antitrust practitioners familiar with the industry. Kapstone disclosed last month in an SEC filing that it and WestRock had entered into a timing