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Knight-Swift Transportation acquires LTL carrier AAA Cooper for $1.35 billion

Knight-Swift Transportation acquires LTL carrier AAA Cooper for $1.35 billion
Knight-Swift Transportation has entered the less-than-truckload market with the acquisition of AAA Cooper.

PHOENIX — On July 5, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc., acquired 100% of Dothan, Alabama-based AAA Cooper Transportation. AAA Cooper is a less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier that also offers dedicated contract carriage and ancillary services. The enterprise value of the transaction was $1.35 billion.

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“We have long had interest in the LTL space and admired the success of AAA Cooper,” said Dave Jackson, Knight-Swift CEO. “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.”

The purchase price consideration consisted of $1.3 billion in cash, $10 million in Knight-Swift shares and approximately $40 million in assumed debt, net of cash. Cash for the transaction was funded from a new $1.2 billion term loan provided by Bank of America to Knight-Swift. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Knight-Swift’s adjusted earnings per share.

Reid Dove, CEO of AAA Cooper, has been appointed to the Knight-Swift board of directors and will continue to serve as the CEO of AAA Cooper.

“In seeking our first LTL partner, we had three main requirements — 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. We were excited to have identified AAA Cooper as a partner that meets all three requirements, and I couldn’t be happier to finally find the right time for both of us to create a partnership,” Jackson said. “This transaction firmly positions us as a meaningful player in the LTL space, where we intend to grow both organically and through future acquisitions.”

Dove noted that joining the Knight-Swift team is “an exciting combination for the AAA Cooper team members and customers.”

“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,” Dove said. “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.”

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