Solo Cup sold for $1 billion


Solo Cup Company squared red cup. Solo Cup Company is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. The company is headquartered in Lake Forest.

Solo Cup Co. said Wednesday it’s being acquired in a $1 billion deal that will combine its product line, including its signature plastic cups, with a major manufacturer of foam coffee cups and food containers.

Dart Container Corp. is buying Lake Forest-based Solo and said it will continue its familiar brand. The sale requires approval from federal regulators, but the companies said they hope it will close during the third quarter.

The deal could affect more than 2,000 jobs in the Chicago area. Solo employs 1,700 people at its plant at 7575 S. Kostner, and another 400 work at the Lake Forest headquarters, said company spokeswoman Angie Gorman.

Dart executives said they will make no hasty decisions about closures or layoffs. They said that as a privately held firm, Dart can take its time on decisions that affect the business’ long-term viability.

“We really want to take the time to get to know the people at Solo,” said James Lammers, general counsel and vice president of administration at Dart. He said the companies have little overlap in their products and that all the manufacturing plants are busy, so excess capacity isn’t an issue.

Dart is based in Mason, Mich. With 20 facilities around the world, including a plant in North Aurora, and about 7,600 employees, its size is similar to Solo’s.

The sale “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,” said Dart Chief Executive Officer Robert Dart.

Solo has spent years improving its operations, said its CEO Robert 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,” he said.

Solo’s majority owners are members of the founding Hulseman family. It has a minority investment from Vestar Capital Partners.

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