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Pactiv Climbs on Report Georgia-Pacific, Rank May Bid

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May 19 (Bloomberg) -- Pactiv Corp. rose to the highest level in 2 1/2 years in U.S. trading on a report that Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Rank Group Ltd. joined the bidding for the maker of Hefty trash bags.

The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter in its report on the bidders. Pactiv climbed $1.89, or 6.8 percent, to $29.79 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the highest since Oct. 15, 2007.

Apollo Global Management LLC is in talks to buy Pactiv, a person with knowledge of the discussions said May 17. Apollo, run by billionaire Leon Black, may merge Pactiv with its Berry Plastics Corp. to lower expenses for the material, Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst Ghansham Panjabi has said. Pactiv also makes cups, cutlery and plastic packaging under the Hefty brand.

Panjabi said Pactiv would sell for $34 to $38 a share. That would value the company at as much as $5.05 billion, based on the number of shares outstanding as of April 30.

James C. Malone, a Georgia Pacific spokesman, and Matthew Gonring, a Pactiv spokesman, declined to comment. Graeme Hart, the owner of Aukland, New Zealand-based Rank Group, wasn’t available for comment.

Georgia-Pacific is a unit of Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries Inc. Pactiv is based in Lake Forest, Illinois. The packaging maker, led by Chief Executive Officer Richard Wambold, posted a 5.8 percent drop in revenue last year as consumers spent less during the economic slump.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Clothier in Southfield, Michigan, at mclothier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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