ABC finalizes Panther purchase

Arkansas Best Corp. (ABC), the parent company of LTL carrier Arkansas Best Freight System (ABFS), is putting the finishing touches on the $118 million acquisition of Panther Expedited Services from private equity firm Fenway Partners LLC. ABC noted it’s funding the bulk of the purchase via a $100 million loan.

Fenway originally acquired Panther back in 2005 and Timothy Mayhew, one of Fenway’s managing directors, pointed out in a statement that the private equity company focused on expanding Panther’s expedited ground transportation network in North America over the last seven years.

“We also expanded Panther’s global freight forwarding network, which significantly broadened the market in which the company operates,” he added. “We are confident that this transaction with a well-respected strategic buyer like Arkansas Best will best position Panther and its employees for future growth and enduring success during the next phase of its development.”

Judy McReynolds, president and CEO of ABC, noted in a statement that her transportation company plans to “immediately begin” offering ABFS’s LTL customers more end-to-end logistics solutions via its new Panther subsidiary in response to their complex supply chain needs.

The acquisition comes at a time when ABC is struggling to return to profitability. The company lost $18.2 million in the first quarter this year on revenues of $440.9 million and announced on June 11 it would increase general freight rates by 6.9%. 

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