December 1, 2014 / 10:16 PM / 4 years ago

C.H. Robinson to buy Freightquote.com for $365 million

(Reuters) - Logistics services provider C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc (CHRW.O) said it would buy online shipping provider Freightquote.com Inc for $365 million in cash.

Freightquote.com is one of the largest internet-based freight brokers in the United States and makes more than 1 million shipments across North America every year.

“E-commerce is going to be a bigger part of future supply chain services and Freightquote brings us a leading solution in our industry,” C.H. Robinson Chief Executive John Wiehoff said in a statement.

C.H. Robinson said it would likely increase its existing revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.

Freightquote.com, founded by Tim Barton in 1998, has annual revenue of more than $600 million and operates truckload, less-than-truckload, expedited services and intermodal freight businesses, according to its website.

The deal will be C.H. Robinson’s third since 2012, when the third-party logistics provider bought Phoenix International and Apreo Logistics.

Although C.H. Robinson has not been particularly acquisitive, merger activity in the U.S. logistics industry has picked up in recent years.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a report in April that valuations for targets within the industry were recovering in developed economies "regardless of whether strategic or financial investors were involved." (r.reuters.com/xyg98v)

Neovia Logistics LLC, backed by Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N), sold itself to Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm and buyout firm Rhone Capital LLC in October.

C.H. Robinson, which has a market capitalization of nearly $11 billion, had cash and equivalents of $127.7 million as of Sept. 30, according to regulatory filings.

Analysts expect the Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company’s revenue to rise about 5 percent to $13.45 billion for the year ending Dec. 31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC is acting as financial adviser to Freightquote.com.

Editing by Simon Jennings

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