Salomon Smith Barney upgrades Willamette (WLL ) to outperform from neutral after it agrees to be acquired by Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY ) for $55.50 in cash per share and says that talks with Georgia-Pacific (GP ) have ended.
Analyst Chip Dillon says that a definitive agreement is likely by the end of January. He sees a closing in under three months, as Hart-Scott-Rodino approval has been obtained. Dillon sees the possibility that a definitive deal may involve equity, although agreement in principle is currently based on an all-cash deal. At any rate, the analyst sees Willamette holders getting $55.50 in value per share, so he raises his $47 target to $55.50.