Verso’s Acquisition of NewPage

Transaction Details:

The merger, valued at approximately $1.4 billion, originally was announced on January 6, 2014. Upon the completion of the NewPage acquisition, Verso has approximately $3.5 billion in annual sales and approximately 5,800 employees in eight mills across six states.

The original summer 2014 closing timeframe was delayed due to the antitrust review process, and the deal closed on January 7, 2015.


PRITCHETT consultants worked with Verso on several key integration management support areas including integration training for the senior leadership team, establishment of an IMO governance process and structure, and integration pre-planning and execution. We helped Verso succeed in the following areas:

Integration Governance:

  • Program governance structure and roles were well defined and formalized
  • Regular interaction with Verso senior lead team throughout the process was invaluable in ensuring alignment with company direction
  • Establishment of well-defined and documented rules of engagement to adhere to antitrust guidelines
  • Verso’s nimble culture and work style enabled work to get done quickly, adapting in real-time to obstacles, changes, and issues

Data Harvesting Process & Day 1 Readiness:

  • Early data harvesting process was well managed; helped secure critical functional planning data
  • Meeting process with key target contacts tightly managed to ensure antitrust guideline adherence
  • Due diligence process was well documented and rehearsed in advance of Day 1. The result was a smooth collection of data resulting in prompt identification of initiatives and projects

Functional Leader Engagement:

  • Functional lead roles and responsibilities were defined and agreed to in advance
  • Functional team leads (FILs) were experienced, helpful, driven, easy to work with and committed to getting the job done
  • Functional leads were able to devote the majority of their time to the integration work
  • Target integration leads were engaged throughout the process with specific roles and responsibilities

IMO Process Adherence:

  • IMO weekly governance process was established during pre-planning and adhered to throughout the pre-planning and execution phases
  • Functional approach / IMO governance structure afforded helpful collaboration, without creating unnecessary bureaucracy
  • Collaboration and sharing resulted in cohesive cross functional plan development

Day 1 Preparation

  • Detailed IMO Day 1 and First 30 Days planning resulted in tightly scripted integration rollout
  • Development of “Commercial Interim Procedures” and other preparatory work facilitated the on-boarding and minimized potential confusion
  • Presentations around closing, future opportunities, NewCo messaging laid groundwork for positive follow up from external stakeholders
  • Day 1 Communication materials were prepared well in advance and included all information needed for onboarding and assimilating NewPage employees
  • Communications’ role on IMO lead team fostered alignment