Dart Container to Acquire Solo Cup

Will continue offering products under Solo brand, including iconic "Red Solo Cup"

Published in CSP Daily News

MASON, Mich. -- Dart Container Corp. and Solo Cup Co. have signed a definitive agreement under which Dart Container will acquire Solo Cup in a transaction valued at approximately $1 billion. Both companies are in the consumer and foodservice disposable packaging business. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the third quarter of this year.

Dart expects to continue offering products under the Solo brand--including the iconic red Solo cup celebrated by Toby Keith ( click here to view a video of Keith performing his country hit).

Solo Cup is majority-owned by the family of its founder, Leo J. Hulseman, and is also a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners IV LP. Dart Container is a privately owned company founded by William A. Dart.

Dart Container and Solo Cup will continue to operate independently until government approval is secured and the transaction closes. The integrated organization will be a private company known as Dart Container Corp.

"Our acquisition of Solo will allow us to provide even greater value to our customers in the future," said Dart Container CEO Robert C. Dart. "It will enable customers to purchase a wider range of products, made from a greater variety of materials with varying functional and environmental attributes--all from a single vendor. Both companies have an extensive history in the industry and will bring together valuable experience, traditions and complementary, high-quality products."

"Dart Container's acquisition of Solo will accelerate the progress Solo has made to improve its levels of service and customer support," said Dart. "We will use our expertise in running a successful, efficient, reliable and service-oriented company to create an organization that blends the best of both Dart and Solo for the benefit of our customers."

Robert M. Korzenski, CEO of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Solo Cup, said, "Solo has made great strides over the past several years in improving its operating efficiency, information systems and the caliber of the talent within the organization. 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."

And Robert L. Hulseman, chairman emeritus of  Solo Cup, added, "These are two companies with strong histories of innovation and quality that have invested in the industry and in their customers. I am very proud of this company's contributions to the foodservice packaging industry and extremely pleased that many of Solo's dedicated employees will have the opportunity to continue making a difference for our customers. This is a positive outcome for everyone involved."

Regarding the integration process, Robert Dart pointed out that unlike publicly traded companies, where short-term results often are of paramount importance to investors and other stakeholders, privately held Dart Container is able to make decisions and investments that are long term in nature. He said the company has the time, and will take the time, to integrate Solo in a thoughtful, analytical manner to ensure lasting success.

Established in 1960, Dart Container is family owned and operated, with 7,600 employees and 20 production facilities worldwide. The company manufactures more than 600 products and has facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Australia and the United Kingdom. It also has UV-curable ink manufacturing, machinery manufacturing and polymer production facilities.

Solo Cup is a $1.6 billion company exclusively focused on the manufacture of single-use products used to serve food and beverages for the consumer/retail, foodservice and international markets. Solo has broad product offerings available in paper, plastic, foam, post-consumer recycled content and annually renewable materials, and creates brand name products under the Solo, Sweetheart, Creative Carryouts and Bare by Solo names. The company was established in 1936 and has a global presence with facilities in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Panama and the United States.