Nucor Corp., the nation's second-largest steelmaker, said it has signed an exclusive agreement with Birmingham Steel Corp. to buy the financially strapped Alabama steel producer for $615 million in cash.
In February, Nucor made an unsolicited offer to pay $500 million in cash for most of Birmingham Steel's assets. The sweetened offer was disclosed in papers filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nucor won't complete the deal unless Birmingham Steel files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to eliminate the threat of lawsuits over three plants the company has sold or closed, said J. Daniel Garrett, chief financial officer of Birmingham Steel.
Nucor officials confirmed that the bankruptcy provision was included in the agreement.
Nucor shares rose $1.72, or 2.8%, to close at $63.52 on the NYSE. Birmingham Steel shares fell 26 cents to 37 cents in over-the-counter bulletin board trading.