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Verso forms special committee to evaluate Atlas offer to purchase company

MIAMISBURG, Ohio (From news reports) -- The board of directors for Verso Corp. has formed a special committee to evaluate an offer to purchase the company.

At Verso's second quarter earnings conference call Friday morning, Randy Nebel, Verso's president and CEO, said the special committee is made up of two non-executive parties and "disinterested parties" and retained independent advisors to evaluate the proposal from Atlas Holdings LLC and any other options Verso might have. The committee will then make a recommendation to the Verso board.

Nebel said Verso will not comment or disclose anything else at this time.

In July, Atlas Holdings LLC filed a proposal to purchase Verso Corp. for $20 per share in cash. Verso responded, confirming it received the unsolicited proposal and said it would talk with its financial and legal advisors to carefully review the proposal to determine what's best for Verso and its stockholders. Verso said there is no assurance that any negotiations would happen, much less a sale.

Atlas Holdings is a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm that owns and operates 23 manufacturing companies, including a concentration in the pulp and paper industry. Atlas has been an investor in Verso for almost four years and offered to buy Verso, or a majority of its shares, several times between late 2017 and December 2019. Verso rejected those offers.

Once the special committee makes its recommendation to Verso's board, the board would vote. If they decide to sell, the deal would also need to be approved by Verso's shareholders.

If Atlas ends up acquiring Verso, the sale would include the Wisconsin Rapids mill that shut down last year, as it is still a Verso property. But it's too soon to tell what Atlas would choose to do with that mill.

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