The largest deal in the paper industry in a decade, Norcross-based Rock-Tenn Co. announced on Jan. 26 that it has agreed to merge with U.S. rival MeadWestvaco Corp. for a reported $9.2 billion to create the world’s second-largest packaging company.

Both companies acknowledged that International Paper Co. is to remain the world’s biggest packaging company by sales.

According to Bloomberg news, the combination of Rock-Tenn and MeadWestco is forecast to cut $300 million of costs annually. Bloomberg also said that the transaction is the largest in the paper industry since Koch Industries Inc. acquired Georgia-Pacific LLC in 2005 for about $12.6 billion. 

The news service added that the new company is to have 42,000 employees in 30 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

Under the terms of the deal, Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco’s offices are to remain the corporate headquarters of a new entity while Rock-Tenn’s offices in Norcross are to remain the operational headquarters.

Steven C. Voorhees, CEO of RockTenn is to serve as CEO and president of the combined company, and John A. Luke Jr., chairman and CEO of MeadWestvaco, is to become non-executive chairman of the board of directors.

A new name for the combined entity is to be announced before the final closing, which both companies have targeted to take place by the second calendar quarter of this year.

The transaction requires the approval of shareholders and is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

The announcement indicated that the board will be comprised of eight directors from Rock-Tenn and six directors from MeadWestvaco.

The live and archived webcast of a joint conference call concerning the merger on Jan. 26 is available on or