Rayonier to Acquire Pope Resources
Rayonier Inc. (“Rayonier”) and Pope Resources, A Delaware Limited Partnership (“Pope Resources”) announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Rayonier will acquire all of the outstanding limited partnership units of Pope Resources for consideration consisting of equity and cash. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies as well as the special committee of Pope Resources’ board composed solely of independent directors, Pope Resources unitholders will have the right to elect to receive (i) 3.929 common shares of Rayonier, (ii) 3.929 units of Rayonier Operating Partnership LP, or (iii) $125 in cash in exchange for each unit of Pope Resources, subject to a proration mechanism as described below. Based on Rayonier’s 10-day volume-weighted average price, the transaction values Pope Resources’ limited partnership equity at $554 million, or $126.91 per unit (assuming 70% of the Pope Resources units are exchanged for equity consideration and 30% are exchanged for cash consideration).
Following the closing of the transaction, Rayonier Operating Partnership LP (n/k/a Rayonier Operating Company LLC) will own all of the assets of Rayonier and Pope Resources and will be the operating partnership of Rayonier’s umbrella partnership real estate investment trust (“UPREIT”). The units of Rayonier Operating Partnership LP can be converted into cash based on the market price of Rayonier common shares or, at Rayonier’s option, exchanged for Rayonier common shares on a 1:1 basis, following a 60-day notice period. Pope Resources unitholders that elect to receive Rayonier Operating Partnership LP units will generally defer any capital gain recognition on their Pope Resources units until they exchange those units for cash or Rayonier common shares.
“We are delighted to be combining two premier pure-play timber organizations using an innovative tax-deferred UPREIT structure,” said David Nunes, President and CEO of Rayonier. “Pope Resources has a strong track record as a best-in-class Pacific Northwest timberland operator and possesses an excellent set of assets in high-quality markets. Our two organizations have very compatible cultures, a complementary set of assets and a shared dedication to value maximization through intensive silvicultural practices and higher-and-better-use real estate operations. The addition of these high-quality Pacific Northwest timberlands increases Rayonier’s ownership in the region to 504,000 acres, adds 57 MMBF to our sustainable yield, increases our proportion of Douglas-fir inventory and offers a complementary age-class fit. We look forward to completing this transaction by mid-year, which continues our strategy of adding high-quality timberlands in strong log markets and building long-term value for our shareholders through prudent capital allocation.”
“This transaction is the culmination of a thorough process undertaken by Pope Resources’ board to maximize value for our unitholders,” said Tom Ringo, President and CEO of Pope Resources. “Rayonier is the leading pure-play timberland REIT, with a well-diversified portfolio of timberlands and an established track record of creating long-term value from its assets. This transaction will provide our unitholders with the opportunity to defer capital gain recognition and participate in Rayonier’s long-term upside potential, benefitting from a well-managed and diversified timberland portfolio while still enjoying a strong dividend yield. Like Pope Resources, Rayonier has a rich heritage of sustainably managing timberlands, and we look forward to working closely with them to realize the benefits of this combination on behalf of our unitholders.”
– Complementary Timberland Portfolios. The combination will allow Rayonier to meaningfully enhance the scale, diversity and cash flow potential of its Pacific Northwest timberland portfolio, while allowing Pope Resources unitholders to participate in the long-term upside of a more diverse timberland and real estate portfolio. The addition of Pope Resources’ 125,000 acres(1) will increase Rayonier’s Pacific Northwest sustainable yield by 32% and will increase its proportion of Douglas-fir merchantable inventory from 60% to 68%. The combined organization will benefit from sharing best-in-class silvicultural practices and optimizing log merchandising and logistics, and further expects to realize operational efficiencies and cost savings from integrating systems and personnel.
– High-Value HBU and Real Estate Development Projects. Pope Resources’ land portfolio includes several high-potential HBU and real estate development opportunities, including projects in Gig Harbor, Port Gamble, Kingston and Bainbridge Island in the west Puget Sound area. These projects, as well as significant conservation and rural land sale opportunities within the Pope Resources portfolio, will significantly enhance Rayonier’s pipeline of value-added HBU opportunities.
– Attractive Private Equity Timber Fund Business. Pope Resources operates a private equity timber fund business with three funds and total assets under management of $545 million, consisting of 141,000 acres of timberland located in the Pacific Northwest. The timber fund business has historically provided Pope Resources with enhanced operational scale, access to institutional capital for growth and incremental cash flow from asset management fees. Based on its weighted average co-investment of 12%, Pope Resources’ proportionate ownership in these funds represents an additional 17,000 acres with a pro-rata appraised value of $65 million (or $59 million, net of fund debt).
– Accretive to Cash Flow. Rayonier expects that the transaction will increase annual Adjusted EBITDA(3)(4)(5) and CAD(2)(3)(4) by approximately $38 million and $25 million, respectively, over the next five years. These anticipated increases are driven, in part, by estimated annual cost synergies of approximately $5 million, reflecting a reduction of overhead costs and the elimination of redundant public company costs.
– Prudent Capital Structure. By limiting cash consideration to approximately 30% of the total limited partnership units of Pope Resources, Rayonier will be able to maintain conservative credit metrics consistent with its long-term targets. Rayonier remains committed to maintaining its investment grade credit rating.
Proration Mechanism: Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, elections will be subject to proration to ensure that the aggregate amount of cash, on the one hand, and Rayonier common stock and Rayonier operating partnership units, on the other hand, that are issued in the merger would be equal to the amounts issued as if every Pope Resources unit received 2.751 Rayonier common shares or Rayonier operating partnership units and $37.50 in cash. If elections for the Rayonier common shares and Rayonier operating partnership units are oversubscribed, then to reduce the effect of such proration Rayonier may, in its discretion, add additional equity (and decrease the amount of cash) payable to the Pope Resources unitholders making such elections.
GP Consideration: The merger agreement also provides for Rayonier to acquire the general partner entities of Pope Resources, Pope MGP, Inc. and Pope EGP, Inc., for consideration consisting of $10 million of cash (exclusive of the Pope Resources units owned by these entities).
Valuation: Inclusive of the general partner consideration described above, the transaction values Pope Resources’ total equity at $564 million and its enterprise value at $656 million (excluding fund net debt).
Transaction Support: The general partners of Pope Resources have approved the transaction, and certain affiliated unitholders holding approximately 16% of the outstanding limited partnership units have entered into voting agreements to vote in favor of the merger.
Timing and Approvals
The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020. The transaction requires approval of a majority of the Pope Resources unitholders and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Credit Suisse is serving as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal counsel to Rayonier. Centerview Partners is serving as financial advisor and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is serving as legal advisor to the special committee of Pope Resources’ board. Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is serving as legal counsel to Pope Resources.
Conference Call Information
Rayonier will host a conference call and live webcast on Wednesday, January 15 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time / 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time to discuss the transaction. Access to the live webcast and presentation will be available at www.rayonier.com. Investors may listen to the conference call by dialing 800-369-1184 (domestic) or 415-228-3898 (international), passcode: Rayonier. A replay of the conference call will be available one hour following the call until Friday, February 14, 2020 by dialing 866-451-8971 (domestic) or 203-369-1204 (international), passcode: 11520.
1.) Includes approximately 6,000 acres representing long-term timber deeds, timber reservations from prior land sales, and lands located within real estate project areas.
2.) Cash Available for Distribution (“CAD”) is defined as cash provided by operating activities adjusted for capital spending (excluding timberland acquisitions and real estate development investments) and working capital and other balance sheet changes. CAD is a non-GAAP measure that management uses to measure cash generated during a period that is available for common stock dividends, distributions to the New Zealand minority shareholder, repurchase of the Company’s common shares, debt reduction, strategic acquisitions and real estate development investments. CAD is not necessarily indicative of the CAD that may be generated in future periods.
3.) Rayonier has presented forward-looking statements regarding Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Available for Distribution (“CAD”). These non-GAAP financial measures are derived by excluding certain amounts, expenses or income from the corresponding financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP. The determination of the amounts that are excluded from these non-GAAP financial measures is a matter of management judgment and depends upon, among other factors, the nature of the underlying expense or income amounts recognized in a given period. We are unable to present a quantitative reconciliation of forward-looking Adjusted EBITDA and CAD to their most directly comparable forward-looking GAAP financial measures because such information is not available, and management cannot reliably predict all of the necessary components of such GAAP measures without unreasonable effort or expense. In addition, we believe such reconciliations would imply a degree of precision that would be confusing or misleading to investors. These non-GAAP financial measures are preliminary estimates and are subject to risks and uncertainties, including, among others, changes in connection with quarter-end and year-end adjustments. Any variation between the company’s actual results and forward-looking financial data set forth above may be material.
4.) Excludes transaction expenses and costs to achieve synergies.
5.) Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, depletion, amortization, the non-cash cost of land and improved development, non-operating income and expense and Large Dispositions. Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure that management uses to make strategic decisions about the business and that investors can use to evaluate the operational performance of the assets under management. It removes the impact of specific items that management believes do not directly reflect the core business operations on an ongoing basis. Adjusted EBITDA for the expected five-year average annual financial impact is calculated on a “look-through” basis, which combines the Partnership’s Timber and its 20%, 5%, and 15% ownership interests in Fund II, Fund III, and Fund IV, respectively.
Rayonier is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. As of September 30, 2019, Rayonier owned, leased or managed approximately 2.6 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. South (1.8 million acres), U.S. Pacific Northwest (379,000 acres) and New Zealand (414,000 acres). More Information is available at www.rayonier.com.
About Pope Resources
Pope Resources, a publicly traded limited partnership, and its subsidiaries Olympic Resource Management and Olympic Property Group, own and manage 125,000 acres of timberland and higher-and-better-use properties in Washington. In addition, Pope Resources co-invests in and consolidates three private equity timber funds that own 141,000 acres of timberland in Washington, Oregon, and California. The Partnership and its predecessor companies have owned and managed timberlands and development properties for over 165 years. Additional information on the company can be found at www.poperesources.com.
Rayonier – Mark Hugh – Senior Vice President & CFO – (904) 357-9100
Pope Resources – Daemon Repp – Vice President & CFO – (360) 697-6626
Source: Rayonier, Inc.