ATLANTA-In what is being called in the industry as the largest private timberland sale in US annals, locally based Forest Investment Associates and Resource Management Service LLC of Birmingham, AL have contracted with International Paper Co. to acquire 5.1 million acres of timberland, including 300,000 acres in Georgia. A total 3.8 million acres are in the South.

The contracted price is $6.1 billion, according to International Paper Co. sources. The buyers have agreed to come up with about $5 billion in cash and notes for the acquisition, Atlanta industrial brokerage sources in a position to know tell The deal is expected to close by summer.

The land parcels are in 30 Georgia counties. The contracted price equates to $1,196 per acre or about three cents per sf. Some of the land will remain in timber production to feed International Paper’s pulp and paper mills in the South while other tracts will probably become residential developments, according to Atlanta land brokers.

While the larger land deal approaches closing, another Atlanta area transaction with International Paper is also nearing completion. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has contracted to buy 10,393 acres for an average $433 per acre or a total $4.5 million of timberland along the Altamaha River in Wayne and Glynn counties, as previously reported.

In a separate transaction, the Department of Natural Resources is also negotiating to buy another 12,000 acres of timberland from Georgia-Pacific for about $5.2 million or $433 per acre, the same per-acre price it is paying for the International Paper land, as also previously reported.

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