Arkansas Best to Buy Panther Expedited Services in $180 Million Deal

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 7:43 am  

Arkansas Best CEO Judy McReynolds says the Panther service will be a sister service to its ABF Freight System operation.

Arkansas Best said it 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."

After the deal closes, Panther will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Best and a sister company to ABF.

Andrew Clarke, Panther's president and CEO, will remain with Panther as president and CEO and report directly to McReynolds. Arkansas Best that other members of the Panther executive team are "expected to remain in their current roles with the company."

"Upon the close of this transaction, Panther employees will have access to a much broader sales organization nationwide and a parent company with significant resources," Clarke said. "We're excited about the opportunities to grow and expand the services now available to us with this new strategic owner and a capital structure that enables us to invest in our business."

Panther was founded in 1992. Fenway Partners of New York, a middle market private equity firm, purchased it in 2005. In a separate news release, Fenway said that during its ownership of the company, it expanded Panther's global freight forwarding network, broadening the company's market.

"Not only has this been a successful investment for Fenway, 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," said Timothy Mayhew, a Fenway managing director and a member of Panther's board.



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