DUBLIN – Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa is buying U.S. rival WestRock for an agreed $11 billion to create the world’s biggest paper and packaging company and try to better navigate weak economies on both sides of the Atlantic. The deal will combine Europe’s biggest paper and packaging producer with the second largest player in the United States and forge a company worth nearly $20 billion. Smurfit Kappa shares dropped 10%, while WestRock’s were up 7.2% in pre-market trade on Tuesday, as analysts said the premium paid by the Irish company was higher than most of its investors had hoped for. …Smurfit Kappa CEO Tony Smurfit and chair Irial Finan will also keep their roles in the new company. …Smurfit said he did not see any antitrust issues given the limited overlap of Smurfit Kappa’s European, South and Central America-dominated operations and WestRock U.S. footprint, except for in Mexico which the companies would work to overcome.
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