Dart Container to acquire Solo Cup

Dart Container to acquire Solo Cup

URBANA — Solo Cup Co. announced Wednesday it has agreed to be acquired by Dart Container Corp. in a transaction valued at $1 billion.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Dart is paying $315 million for Solo and assuming about $700 million of Solo's debt. The Journal said Dart is expected to retain the Solo name for its party cups.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the third quarter of this year.

Solo Cup makes plastic cups, lids and containers at its 269,000-square-foot plant in Urbana,

The Urbana plant at 1505 E. Main St. employs about 600, said Solo spokeswoman Angie Gorman. That includes 326 hourly non-union employees, 234 temporary workers, 18 warehouse workers and 33 salaried workers.

According to Solo's most recently filed annual report, the company employed about 6,700 people worldwide as of Dec. 26, 2010, with about 5,500 of those in the United States.

Solo, based in Lake Forest, had 13 manufacturing facilities and 10 distribution centers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama and the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1936, the company had $1.6 billion in net sales during the fiscal year that ended Dec. 26, 2010.

Dart Container, based in Mason, Mich., is a privately owned company founded by William A. Dart. Founded in 1960, it has 7,600 employees and 20 production facilities worldwide.

"Dart's leadership team has shown a high level of respect for what Solo has accomplished, and I believe we are putting the company in the right hands to succeed and grow going forward," said Robert M. Korzenski, Solo's CEO.

Dart CEO Robert C. Dart said both companies have an extensive history in the industry and make complementary products.

He said unlike publicly traded companies, where short-term results are important to investors, privately held Dart can make decisions and investments that are long term in nature.

In a joint release from the two companies, Dart said his company has the time — and will take the time to integrate Solo in a "thoughtful, analytical manner to ensure lasting success."