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Heartland buys 100% of Gordon Trucking stock, assets for $300 million

With Gordon Trucking, Heartland acquires a major presence in the West, affording the combined customer base significant capacity nationwide through what is expected to be one of the five largest asset-based truckload fleets in North America. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

11/13/2013

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa — Heartland Express has acquired 100 percent of the stock of Gordon Trucking of Pacific, Wash., and certain associated assets in transactions valued at approximately $300 million, Heartland announced in a news release this week.

With combined total revenue of approximately $1 billion and a terminal network spanning from Washington to Florida and from Pennsylvania to Southern California, Heartland estimates the combined companies will operate the fifth largest asset-based truckload fleet in North America.

Founded as Gordon Fast Freight in 1946 with just two trucks, Jay Gordon started out hauling beer from Vancouver, Wash., to Tacoma, Wash., for his first customer, the Lucky Lager Brewery.

In 1984, Jay Gordon sold the company to his son Larry and his wife Virginia.

Until the acquisition, Gordon Trucking was owned Larry and Virginia Gordon and their sons Steve and Scott Gordon.

Steve Gordon and Scott Gordon have joined Heartland’s management team.

Larry and Virginia Gordon will retire. Larry Gordon has joined Heartland’s board of directors.

The transactions are expected to be immediately accretive to Heartland’s earnings per share, excluding transaction-related expenses.

The Gordon family has agreed to retain a substantial portion of its Heartland stock through 2017 to align the family's interests with the interests of Heartland’s other stockholders.

Gordon Trucking operates just over 2,000 power units, according to its 2013 MC-150 filing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Larry Gordon, who held the position as chairman at Gordon Trucking, said his company had not necessarily been eager to sell but said the carrier agreed to consider the Heartland proposal because of “our desire to be part of the best truckload carrier in the industry.  Through these transactions, our people have the opportunity to build on a strong foundation, learn best practices, contribute to an industry leader, and gain access to new customers and geographies,” Larry Gordon said. ‘We were excited to receive a substantial portion of the family’s value in Heartland shares and become one of Heartland's largest stockholders.  We believe in the transactions and in our ability to contribute greatly to the combined company.”

Michael Gerdin, Chairman, president and CEO of Heartland, called the combining of the assets of the two companies a good fit.

“We searched for many years for the best fit to expand our capabilities for customers, our opportunities for drivers, and our growth for our stockholders,” Gerdin said.  “With Gordon Trucking, Heartland acquires a major presence in the West, affording the combined customer base significant capacity nationwide through what is expected to be one of the five largest asset-based truckload fleets in North America. 

GTI has a well-earned reputation for superior customer service, with a modern fleet and a strong safety record.  Culturally speaking, it is an excellent fit. I am pleased that Steve and Scott Gordon have joined Heartland’s management team and Larry Gordon has joined our board of directors.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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