Arkansas Best Acquires Panther for $180 Million

Arkansas Best Corp., a provider of freight transportation and logistics solutions and parent company of national less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier ABF Freight System, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Panther Expedited Services Inc. from Fenway Partners LLC, a middle market private equity firm. The total transaction value is approximately $180 million, subject to post-closing adjustments, with all of Panther’s outstanding debt being repaid as part of the transaction.

Panther is an independent expedited transportation and premium logistics provider, with $215 million in revenue (unaudited) and $24 million of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2011. Panther’s specialized equipment, technology and expertise in expedited transportation, logistics and global forwarding will enhance Arkansas Best’s end-to-end solutions offering. The current Panther management team is expected to remain in place to manage and grow the business.

Panther will operate as a sister company to ABF Freight System, notes Judy McReynolds, president and CEO of Arkansas Best.

Arkansas Best expects to fund the $180 million purchase price with $80 million in cash and a five-year $100 million senior secured term loan, which can be increased to $175 million through an accordion feature.

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