Weyerhaeuser to buy timberland

The Weyerhaeuser Co. announced Sunday that it will buy approximately 645,000 acres of timberland in Washington and Oregon. Close to half, or 312,000 acres, is in Washington, spokesman Anthony Chavez said Monday.

The land, located mainly west of the Cascades, is in the southwestern counties of Grays Harbor, Pacific, Cowlitz, Lewis and Wahkiakum, and as far north as Whatcom.

Weyerhaeuser signed a stock purchase agreement to acquire the timber holdings owned by Longview Timber LLC for $2.65 billion, which includes the assumption of debt. The transaction is expected to close in next month.

The purchase increases Weyerhaeuser’s holdings in the Pacific Northwest by 33 percent to 2.6 million acres, of the 6.6 million acres the company owns in the U. S.

Weyerhaeuser will offer 28 million shares of common stock and 10 million mandatory convertible preference shares to fund the purchase of the timberland. An additional 4.2 million common shares may also be offered to underwriters.

The company plans to increase its quarterly dividend by two cents to 22 cents per share, payable in September, in conjunction with the acquisition.

Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest private owners of timberland, began operations in 1900.

Longview Timber owns and manages the 645,000 acres in an “ongoing intensive reforestation program, with substantially more trees planted per acre annually than required by state law,” the Weyerhaeuser release noted.