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PolyOne purchase of Spartech is a done deal

By: Don Loepp

March 12, 2013

The biggest deal of 2012 -- in fact, the biggest story in plastics last year -- is a done deal.

Spartech Corp. shareholders today approved the company's acquisition by PolyOne Corp. The $393 million deal was first disclosed way back on Oct. 24. Now that Spartech's shareholders have given their consent, the transaction will officially be completed on March 13.

What's up first? As expected, Vicki Holt , president and CEO of Spartech, will be leaving the company, following a 30-day transition period. You'll recall that Spartech approved a $5 million golden parachute for Holt, which was disclosed in February.

But more changes are in the works. PolyOne announced that its Specialty Platform will now have three reportable segments: Global Color, Additives and Inks, Global Specialty Engineered Materials, and a newly formed segment named Designed Structures and Solutions, or DSS.

DSS will include Spartech's former custom sheet and rollstock and packaging technologies businesses.

Spartech's color & specialty compounds business will be integrated into PolyOne's Global Color, Additives & Inks, Global Specialty Engineered Materials, and Performance Products & Solutions segments. The Spartech name will disappear.

PolyOne also announced that it has appointed Julie McAlindon as senior vice president and president of the DSS unit. McAlindon joined PolyOne in June 2010 as vice president of marketing, coming from Dow Chemical Co.

The DSS unit will continue to be based in the St. Louis area -- Spartech's home base.

The best quotes from PolyOne's news release announcing the deal was finalized come from Stephen Newlin, the Avon Lake, Ohio-based company's chairman, president and CEO:

"This business looks very much like PolyOne did in the early years of our transformation. We have the playbook and in-house expertise to accelerate Spartech's transformation from a volume-oriented company to one that focuses on specialty solutions and true value creation for customers," Newlin said. "We are committed to the successful integration of Spartech, and look forward to delivering the projected annual synergies of $65 million by the end of the third year post-acquisition."

PolyOne's purchase of Spartech was the big deal of 2012. We highlighted it in our recent special report on mergers & acquisitions, and our first story back in October was the most-read report on PlasticsNews.com last year.

From the very beginning, we talked to analysts and company officials who talked about what the deal meant -- there's quite a bit of interest in what PolyOne will do with all of Spartech's assets, including the sheet business.

In the past few weeks we've seen some other mega-deals announced on the pages of Plastics News -- Milacron LLC's purchase of Mold-Masters Ltd. and Jabil Circuit Inc.'s acquisition of Nypro Inc. are still fresh in everyone's thoughts.

As the plastics industry's mega-sized companies continue to grow -- gosh, has anyone else noticed that we haven't mentioned Berry Plastics Group Inc. buying anyone in weeks? -- we'll all watch to see how the market changes, how their competitors react, and how smaller players in the industry adapt to the shifting landscape.

It should make for plenty of news to keep us busy in 2013 and beyond.