U.S. Silica could sell to investment firm for $1.85 billion

by Kate Shunney

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc., the owners of the sandmine operation north of Berkeley Springs, have said they are in the midst of an agreement to sell to affiliates of Apollo Funds – a global investment firm.

In a press release issued on April 26, company officials said that the U.S. Silica board of directors has unanimously approved the $1.85 billion sale.

Under an agreement between U.S. Silica and Apollo Funds, current Silica stockholders would be paid $15.50 per share in cash for their common stock.  At the last full day of trading before the sale was announced, that stock had a closing price of $13.06, said the press release.

“Upon completion of the transaction, the Company’s common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the Company will become a private company,” the release said. “U.S. Silica will continue operating under the U.S. Silica name and brand and will continue to be led by Bryan Shinn and the current executive team.”

“By partnering with Apollo Funds, we gain significant resources, deep industry expertise and enhanced flexibility as a private company to pursue the many market opportunities in front of us and invest in innovative capabilities that enable value-added offerings for customers,” said Shinn.

Apollo representatives said they see the purchase as a way to reach “new frontiers” in the industry.

“We have tremendous respect for U.S. Silica and its talented management team and employees, and are thrilled to partner with them to unlock the Company’s next phase of growth,” said Gareth Turner, partner at Apollo.

The purchase agreement will expire on June 10, said the company announcement.

U.S. Silica has plant locations in West Virginia, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and a handful of other states. Company headquarters are in Katy, Texas.

Corporate representatives from U.S. Silica did not respond to a request for comment about how the sale would affect the Berkeley Springs plant operations.