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Hedge fund seeks to take over Wausau Paper's board of directors


MOSINEE, Wis (WSAU) The possible sale of the Wausau Paper mills in Mosinee and Rhinelander is part of a broad disagreement between the company and its largest stockholder. Hedge fund company Starboard Value LLC of New York wants the company to do more to boost its stock price. They say either the more-profitable tissue paper business should be spun-off into a new company, or all of Wausau Paper should be sold. Starboard owns about 14-percent of Wausau Paper stock.

Starboard nominated three people to Wausau Paper board of directors a few hours before the mill-sale proposal was announced. If the three new board members are approved, Starboard would effetely take-over the company with Starboard CEO Jeff Smith becoming the new leader of the company. Shareholders will vote on the new board members at Wausau Paper's annual meeting this spring.

Starboard has also advocated moving the company's headquarters, and was a supporter of closing the Brokaw mill last year -- saying it was an under-performing asset.