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Sutherland Helps Close Largest Private Timberland Sale in U.S. History

November 3, 2006

ATLANTA (November 3, 2006) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP represented Resource Management Service LLC (RMS), Forest Investment Associates (FIA), and other investors that are part of a consortium of buyers led by RMS, in their purchase of International Paper timberland holdings, a deal which closed Friday.  The $5 billion transaction is considered the largest private timberland sale in U.S. history.

Under the agreement, International Paper has sold 3.8 million acres of mostly southern forestland to the investor group for approximately $5 billion in cash and notes at closing.  JP Morgan served as a financial advisor to the buyer group on the deal.

RMS, based in Birmingham, and FIA, based in Atlanta, are timberland investment firms specializing in land management on behalf of individual and institutional investors.  Approximately 300,000 acres of the timberlands are in Georgia.  The remainder are located in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia and Michigan.

"Our clients very much appreciated our efforts and we are proud of being able to represent them in this tremendous accomplishment," said Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman.  "This transaction was truly a team effort and serves as another significant example of Sutherland's ability to carry out complicated transactions."

The cross-practice Sutherland team was led by partners Victor P. Haley and Haynes R. Roberts of the real estate group, Daniel R. McKeithen of the tax group, and William H. Bradley, B. Knox Dobbins, Thomas C. Herman, and Eric R. Fenichel of the corporate and finance groups.

"In this new era of timberland ownership, investment, and management, our firm has a proven record of success," said Sutherland Corporate Partner William H. Bradley.  "We're happy that our clients value the work Sutherland attorneys did in brokering such a noteworthy deal."

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies.  Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 450 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington.  For further information about the firm, please visit

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Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is an international law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

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