NEW YORK (AP) - Verso Paper said Wednesday that it has agreed to sell two paper mills in order to gain U.S. approval for its $1.4 billion acquisition of privately held specialty paper maker NewPage Holdings.

NEW YORK (AP) Verso Paper said Wednesday that it has agreed to sell two paper mills in order to gain U.S. approval for its $1.4 billion acquisition of privately held specialty paper maker NewPage Holdings.

Verso said it has agreed to sell NewPage's paper mills in Biron, Wisconsin, and Rumford, Maine, to Catalyst Paper Corp. The selling of the mills will settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice Department said the acquisition would have pushed paper prices higher.

The acquisition is expected to close in early January, Verso said, a year after the deal to buy NewPage was announced.

Verso, based in Memphis, Tennessee, makes coated papers used in magazines, catalogues and brochures. New Page is based in Miamisburg, Ohio.

Shares of Verso rose 25 cents, or 7.7 percent, to $3.49 in afternoon trading Wednesday.