In a letter to its customers today, Unisource revealed that it has been in talks with International Paper, the parent company of xpedx, to investigate the merging of its distribution businesses.
According to the letter, Unisource initiated the dialog and the two parties have subsequently signed a non-binding letter of intent about a potential transaction. The letter states that the deal would allow wider global reach in distribution and a stronger supply chain resulting in better service.
xpedx is a $6 billion business-to-business distributor with 85 distribution centres in the U.S. and Mexico. In 2007 the company expanded into Canada, leading with a 150,000 square foot facility in the Greater Toronto Area. In November 2011, the company pulled out of Canada completely, citing the decline of the print marketplace.
Unisource is a Georgia-based distributor with a workforce of roughly 4,000 people around the world. The company was formed in 1996 when it was split off from Alco Standard Corporation; it was then purchased by Georgia Pacific in 1999 and a majority stake was sold to Bain Capital. According to Forbes magazine in 2011, the company is the 82nd largest private company in the world.
The letter from Unisource stressed that if no agreement is reached between the two companies, Unisource will continue to operate as a private company.