St. Joe Company Agrees to Sell Its Northwest Florida Timberland
The St. Joe Company today announced that it has entered into a sales agreement with AgReserves, Inc., a Utah corporation, to sell approximately 382,834 acres of its non-strategic timberland and rural land in Northwest Florida for $565 million. The final price is subject to an adjustment set forth in the sales agreement. This proposed transaction does not include land within the company's existing residential or commercial real estate segments or its resorts, leisure or leasing segment, nor include any land for which the company had plans to develop or use in these types of operations in the foreseeable future.
"This sale of timberland will help the company concentrate on its core business activity of real estate development in Northwest Florida," said Park Brady, CEO for The St. Joe Company. "The proceeds from the sale will provide the company with significant liquidity and numerous opportunities to create long-term value for our shareholders."
The land to be sold includes the majority of the company's timberlands in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties and had an aggregate carrying value of approximately $54 million on Oct. 31. AgReserves Inc. is assuming agreements and contracts existing on the purchased timberlands and intends to maintain timber and agricultural uses of the lands.
"AgReserves has demonstrated its commitment to wise land stewardship and prudent resource management during more than 60 years of ranching and agricultural operations in east central Florida. We will apply that same commitment and expertise to managing the property we are acquiring in Florida's Panhandle. We look to the long term in everything we do," said Paul Genho, chairman of the board for AgReserves Inc., a tax-paying affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The transaction was unanimously approved by St. Joe’s board of directors and by AgReserves Inc. and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and the approval of the shareholders of the company. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. Following the sale, St. Joe will own approximately 184,000 acres of land concentrated primarily in Northwest Florida, which includes lands used or intended to be used in its real estate development operations.
TAP Advisors acted as financial advisor to the Company in connection with this transaction, with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Greenberg Traurig P.A. as legal counsel. Foley & Lardner LLP and Kirton McConkie PC acted as legal counsel to AgReserves Inc.