usg-logoGermany-based manufacturer Knauf plans to acquire USG Corp. as part of a $7 billion deal.

Per terms of the deal announced jointly by the companies, Knauf anticipates paying shareholders of Chicago-based USG $44 per share, representing a premium of about 31 percent on USG shares, based on the March 23 closing price.

The deal is expected to close in early 2019, pending closing conditions that include regulatory approvals and approval by USG shareholders. It is being financed from existing cash and committed debt financing, meaning the proposed acquisition is not subject to any financing conditions.

The proposed acquisition was unanimously approved by USB’s board of directors.

“Our board has worked diligently to evaluate all strategic options to maximize value for our shareholders, and we are pleased to have reached this agreement, which provides our shareholders with significant and certain cash value,” Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer of USG, said in a release. “We believe this transaction will create new opportunities for both companies’ customers and will benefit USG’s employees who will be part of a truly global building products company.”

Alexander Knauf, general partner of Knauf, said his company is “excited” about the deal.

“As a long-term USG shareholder, we greatly admire USG’s strong brands, leading market positions in North American wallboard and ceilings and highly talented employee base,” Knauf said. “We look forward to building on USG’s strong presence in North America.”