West Fraser completes US$430M acquisition of Gilman Cos.

On August 31, 2017, West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (West Fraser) completed its US$430 million acquisition of the Gilman Group from the Howard Gilman Foundation. 

The Gilman Group consists of six sawmills and a finger-jointing facility in Florida and Georgia with a combined capacity of 700-million board feet of lumber production and 900 employees.The transaction is meant to help West Fraser expand its North American operations — following its completion, West Fraser’ portfolio comprised 21 sawmills in the US in addition to 15 in Canada. 

By way of background, West Fraser entered into the Stock Purchase Agreement on July 26, obtained early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) waiting period in the middle of August, and completed the acquisition on August 31. The transaction had a significant cross-border (Canada-United States) component and was completed in a remarkably short timeframe. 

McMillan LLP acted as lead counsel for West Fraser and was involved in all aspects of the transaction. The McMillan team was led by Tom Theodorakis and comprised Mike Taylor, Leo Raffin, Mark Neighbor, Morgan McDonald, Joanna Dawson, Jill Pereira, Navnit Duhra Becky Rock, Lindsay Dykstra and Peter Botz. Butler Snow LLP acted as US counsel for West Fraser and advised on corporate and closing implementation. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP advised on the HSR filing. 

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as counsel to the Howard Gilman Foundation (the seller) with a team led by Ann Beth Stebbins and that included Victor Hollender, Erica Schohn, Liz Malone, Joe Soltis, Mary Dear and Joanie Piasta.