Weyerhaeuser Board Names Doyle Simon CEO

NEW YORK -- Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY), one of the world's largest lumber companies, said Sunday that its board has named Doyle Simon as its new CEO, effective Aug. 1.

The company, based in Federal Way, Wash., also said that it signed a deal to buy Longview Timber LLC. for $2.65 billion from Brookfield Asset Management ( BAM). And in a separate release, Weyerhaeuser said it was exploring strategic alternatives for its real estate company that could include a merger, a sale or spin-off of the business.

Simon, 49. who has been a director of Weyerhaeuser since February 2012 and was most recently CEO and chairman of International Paper ( IP) subsidiary Temple-Inland, will succeed Dan Fulton, who turns 65 this year and will retire as planned. Fulton, who had been at the helm since 2008, will serve as executive vice chairman of the Weyerhaeuser board of directors until his retirement in October.

"As former CEO and chairman of Temple-Inland, Doyle has a proven track record of driving performance to achieve results," Chuck Williamson, chairman of Weyerhaeuser's board of directors, said in a statement. "He has deep experience in the forest products industry, broad business and functional expertise and a passion for operational excellence."

Williamson said that Simon should bring "tremendous energy, vision and leadership" to Weyerhaeuser at a time when the company is looking to optimize its assets, increase efficiency and rev up growth.

Weyerhaeuser said Sunday that it signed a definitive stock purchase agreement to acquire Longview Timber from affiliates of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. The transaction, which includes the assumption of debt, is expected to close next month.

As part of the deal, Weyerhaeuser is acquiring 645,000 acres of unique high-quality timberlands in Washington and Oregon that are near the company's existing acreage. Weyerhaeuser said that the deal will expand its timber holdings in the Pacific Northwest by a third, to about 2.6 million acres, and increase the total amount of U.S. timberlands it owns or controls to about 6.6 million acres.

Upon closing, Weyerhaeuser says that the acquisition will be immediately accretive to the company's funds available for distribution per share. It says it intends to increase its quarterly dividend to 22 cents per share from 20 cents beginning with the third quarter dividend, payable in September.

With the cash flows and synergies from the deal, Weyerhaeuser said it should be able to increase its dividend again in the future.

Weyerhaeuser plans to finance the deal by raising about $2.45 billion in debt and equity.

In a separate announcement, Brookfield said that it will also sell its Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging operations to KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. ( KS) for $1.03 billion.

Meanwhile, Weyerhaeuser said that it will be looking at a broad range of alternatives for its Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company as it seeks to capitalize on an improving home market. The business is one of the 20 largest home builders in the country.

Weyerhaeuser's shares closed at $28.29 per share on Friday. That's near the high end of its 52-week range of $20.12 to $33.24.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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