Photo: Knight-Swift Transportation
Knight Swift Transportation 60e5aa58194ca

Knight-Swift acquires LTL carrier for $1.35B

July 7, 2021
Knight-Swift indicates the acquisition of AAA Cooper is only the beginning of its foray into the less-than-truckload segment.

After a $1.35 billion acquisition on June 5, Knight-Swift Transportation now owns 100% of AAA Cooper Transportation, a large less-than-truckload carrier based in Dothan, Alabama. The multi-regional carrier's fleet comprises 3,000 tractors, 7,000 trailers, and 4,800 employees. It also has 70 facilities spread throughout the Southeast and Midwest, with a terminal door count of 3,400.

AAA Cooper also offers dedicated contract carriage, brokerage, fleet maintenance, and international services, but it was the LTL segment that appealed to Knight-Swift.

"We have long had interest in the LTL space and admired the success of AAA Cooper," Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson said. "We feel honored to be stewards of the AAA Cooper brand and, similar to previous acquisitions, AAA Cooper will continue to operate independently while benefitting from the many synergies we expect through Knight-Swift."

Reid Dove, AAA Cooper's CEO, will retain his role and gained a Knight-Swift board seat.

AAA Cooper is expected to generate approximately $780 million in revenue, $140 million in EBITDA, and $80 million in operating income for full-year 2021, according to a Knight-Swift release.

Jackson explained the Phoenix-based Knight-Swift was looking for three primary characteristics with its LTL acquisition: "The scale for entry with significant market share; the profitability and management depth to operate independently and provide a platform for compelling growth opportunities; and a world-class culture."

AAA Cooper met these requirements, and Jackson said he "couldn’t be happier" after the partnership was completed, as it provides Knight-Swift a foothold into an area it clearly wants to expand in.

"This transaction firmly positions us as a meaningful player in the LTL space, where we intend to grow both organically and through future acquisitions," Jackson asserted.

"Joining the Knight-Swift team is an exciting combination for the AAA Cooper team members and customers," Dove noted. "It will allow us to pursue new opportunities and accelerate our growth. We will continue to operate as an independent company, headquartered in Dothan, Alabama, and will do so with the support and partnership of the strongest provider in the full truckload space. This is the fusion of two excellent companies in their respective sectors of the transportation industry, which makes this a win for our people, our customers, and for the newly expanded Knight-Swift team."

Knight and Swift merged in 2017 to create a fleet of 19,300 tractors and 68,000 trailers/containers, with a total of 25,000 employees.

In June, the company also acquired UTXL, a third-party logistics company based in Kansas City, Missouri, that specializes in over-the-road full truckload and multi-stop loads in any length of haul throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

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