Weyerhauser to buy Plum Creek in $8.4 billion deal, creating largest private timber owner in U.S.

SEATTLE -- Weyerhauser announced Sunday plans to acquire Plum Creek for $8.4 billion to create what they call "the world's premiere timberland and forest-products company."

The company will combine to own more than 13 million acres of timberland in the United States, the most of any private owner.

Plum Creek CEO Rick Holley will become the new company's nonexecutive chairman while current Weyerhauser CEO Doyle Simons will be president and CEO.

"These two companies are already best-in-class timberland managers with a relentless focus on sustainable resource management," said Holley. "The breadth and diversity of our combined land and timber assets uniquely position the new company to capitalize fully on the improving housing market, continue to capture Higher and Better Use land values across the combined portfolio, and create additional opportunities to build lasting value.

Weyerhauser is based in Federal Way and has been planning on moving to Seattle. The company began operations in 1900 and now employs around 12,800 people.

Plum Creek is based in Seattle and has around 1,200 employees.

The Seattle Times asked Simons about possible layoffs. He said there is "some overlap in terms of people," but said it was too early to say how many positions could be eliminated.

Under the terms of the merger, Plum Creek's shareholders would receive 1.60 shares of Weyerhauser for each Plum Creek Share. Weyerhauser plans a $2.5 billion stock buyback shortly after the completion of the deal, which is expected in the first or second quarter next year.