ATLANTA (April 10, 2006) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP represented Resource Management Service LLC (RMS), Forest Investment Associates (FIA) and other investors which are part of a consortium of buyers led by RMS, who have agreed to pay approximately $5 billion to purchase International Paper timberland holdings. Announced Tuesday, April 4, 2006, the transaction is considered the largest private timberland sale in U.S. history.
Under the agreement, International Paper will sell 3.8 million acres of mostly southern forestland to the investor group for an estimated $5 billion in cash and notes at closing. JP Morgan acted as a financial advisor to the buyer group on the deal.
The timberland is located in several states, including Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, and Michigan. Approximately 300,000 acres from the sale are located in Georgia.
RMS, which is Birmingham-based, and FIA, based in Atlanta, are timberland investment firms specializing in land management on behalf of individual and institutional investors.
"Our firm has been at the forefront of providing legal services to investors in this new era of timberland ownership, investment and management," said Sutherland Corporate Partner William H. Bradley. "Our Timber and Forest Products Group includes lawyers from the tax, corporate, and finance disciplines, as well as real estate, because all of these areas are required in these large and complex 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.
"Our clients are very pleased and we are very proud of being able to represent them in this tremendous accomplishment," says Managing Partner Mark D. Wasserman. "This transaction was truly a team effort and serves as another significant example of Sutherland's ability to maneuver complicated transactions."
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the world's largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 425 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington. For further information about the firm, please visit sutherland.com.