ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) The Weyerhaeuser Co.'s takeover of a competing landowner for $2.65 billion means the timber company is betting big on its foremost asset.

The Daily Astorian reports the company has struck a deal to buy Longview Timber, increasing its land holdings in Oregon and Washington by one-third, to 2.6 million acres.

The transaction has the potential to increase timberland values in the region.

Weyerhaeuser paid more than $4,000 per acre. Nearly 70 percent of the inventory on the land is harvest-ready timber on flat, favorable terrain with a well-maintained road system.

The location is also desirable, particularly in light of the growing strength of California's housing market and the access to export markets in Asia.

Weyerhaeuser plans to raise about $2.45 billion to finance the transaction.

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