Bidder for DS Smith Commits to London Stock Exchange Listing and City Headquarters

April 4, 2024

A US paper company, aiming to acquire box-maker DS Smith, has announced plans for a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange and intends to maintain a presence in the city post-acquisition. International Paper, headquartered in Memphis, has expressed its commitment to retaining DS Smith’s existing headquarters in London if its acquisition bid proves successful.

Emphasizing continuity, International Paper stated its intention to preserve key functions of DS Smith’s London office, with decisions contingent upon consultations with affected employees. Additionally, the company aims to secure a secondary listing of its shares on the London Stock Exchange, aligning with its strategy for expansion.

Andy Silvernail, the incoming CEO of International Paper, voiced optimism about the potential merger, citing the combined entity’s advantageous position in renewable packaging and its capacity to drive growth and value creation.

The proposed merger is anticipated to yield substantial pre-tax cost savings, estimated at a minimum of $514 million annually. International Paper’s interest in DS Smith triggered a potential bidding competition, following its proposal valuing DS Smith at £5.72 billion, amid a prior bid acceptance from London-listed competitor Mondi.

While a formal bid from International Paper is pending, the company has until April 23rd to submit an offer. Progress in due diligence has been reported, indicating advancing discussions towards a potential deal.
DS Smith’s shares have experienced a notable surge, escalating by 33% this year amid acquisition interest. Following International Paper’s announcement, DS Smith’s shares surged by nearly three per cent, reaching their highest level since October 2021, underscoring investor optimism surrounding the potential acquisition.