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Solo Cup Sold To Michigan Company

(Credit: Solo Cup Co.)

(Credit: Solo Cup Co.)

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – Lake Forest-based Solo Cup Co. has been acquired in a $1 billion deal with a Michigan-based disposable food container and food service firm.

The manufacturer of the famous plastic red cups is being purchased by Mason, Mich.-based Dart Container Corporation, for about $315 million in cash, according to a statement from the two companies. Dart will also assume about $700 million in debt from Solo Cup.

The deal must be approved by federal regulators, but the companies hope to close the deal the fall.

“Our acquisition of Solo will allow us to provide even greater value to our customers in the future,” said Dart Container CEO Robert C. Dart. “It will enable customers to purchase a wider range of products, made from a greater variety of materials with varying functional and environmental attributes — all from a single vendor. Both companies have an extensive history in the industry, and will bring together valuable experience, traditions and complementary, high-quality products.”

Dart, which touts itself as the world’s largest maker of foam coffee cups, and makes 600 other products, said the deal will allow it to offer a wider range of products to its customers.

In addition to its ubiquitous red cups, Solo makes several other disposable food products, mostly from paper, plastic and other recycled materials. The company was founded in 1936 and has been making the red plastic cups since the 70s.

“Solo has made great strides over the past several years in improving its operating efficiency, information systems and the caliber of the talent within the organization,” said Solo Cup CEO Robert M. Korzenski. “Dart’s leadership team has shown a high level of respect for what Solo has accomplished and I believe we are putting the company in the right hands to succeed and grow going forward.”

Dart said it plans to continue offering products, including the red cups, under the Solo brand.

It was not immediately clear how the deal would affect Solo’s 2,100 employees in the Chicago area – including 1,700 at a South Side plant and 400 at its Lake Forest Headquarters.

Dart has said it won’t make any quick decisions about closures or layoffs.

Robert Dart pointed out that, because Dart is a family-owned and operated company, it can take the time to integrate Solo and wait to make any decisions that would affect Solo employees.

Executives said the two firms have little overlap in their product lineups.

Dart has 20 facilities worldwide, including a plant in North Aurora.

The two companies will continue to operate independently until the deal is finalized.