Trucker Arkansas Best in talks to buy Panther Expedited-sources
May 3 (Reuters) - Trucking company Arkansas Best Corp is in talks to buy logistics firm Panther Expedited Services Inc from private equity firm Fenway Partners for more than $150 million, two sources familiar with the matter said.
XPO Logistics and private equity firms Jordan Co and MidOcean Partners have also made offers, the sources said.
It is not clear whether Panther is in exclusive negotiations with Arkansas Best, which is bidding through its Arkansas Best Freight (ABF) subsidiary.
The sources did not want to be identified as the sale process was private.
An acquisition of Panther could expand Arkansas Best's expedited services offering.
Reuters reported in February that Panther was exploring a sale after scrapping its IPO plans and had hired J.P. Morgan as financial adviser.
Panther filed for an IPO of up to $115 million in 2010 but called it off in November 2011.
The firm provides expedited transport services via ground, air and ocean shipping. It does not own any trucks but runs on an owner-operator structure in which truckers drive their own trucks for Panther in return for a percentage of revenue.
Panther has annual revenue of $142 million, according to Fenway's website. Its EBITDA stood around $20-$25 million, the sources said.
New York-based Fenway, with $2.1 billion in capital under management, invested in Panther in 2005.
Arkansas Best had $138.5 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31.
The company, 70 percent of whose employees are union members, may be restricted in how much it can pay for a non-union company, one of the sources said.
XPO, MidOcean, Fenway, and Arkansas Best declined to comment, when contacted. Jordan could not be reached for a comment.
A Panther spokesman said there was no update on the sale process.
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