Mergers and acquisitions, shifting freight markets, and other big business deals related to the trucking industry were anything but boring in 2022. In a January webinar hosted by the Truckload Carriers Association, Davis Looney, director of business development at the Tenney Group, described the year as being more akin to a topsy-turvy market.
“If you just read headlines, you have whiplash trying to make sense of it all,” Looney said. “The way we think about 2022 is that it was ‘a tale of two halves.’ (During the first half of the year) it was the Wild West. We saw exploding demand around North America, and a once-in-a-lifetime value for used equipment. Then the tide turned in the second half of 2022.”
Looney pointed to the Fed’s creation of seven different interest rate hikes, which “got the attention of debt and capital markets around the world. Then things slowed, and attitudes changed on freight markets.” As a result, he said, many larger deals were put on pause or punted into 2023. However, “there were still a lot of deals done,” he added.
Spencer Tenney, president and CEO of the Tenney Group, pointed to Werner as one of the biggest players in 2022 acquisitions. He describes Werner’s move as “symbolic of a much broader trend of rising generation of leaders who don’t see acquisitions as risky growth, they see it as the inverse.” He continued, “If you want to be competitive and, more specifically, if you want to create value for your shareholders, acquisitions must be a part of your growth strategy.”
On October 3, 2022, Werner signed a definitive agreement and closed on the acquisition of FAB9 Inc., doing business as Baylor Trucking, Inc. Baylor operates a fleet of 200 trucks — 170 company and 30 independent contractor rigs — and 980 trailers.
According to the terms of the agreement, Baylor will operate as a stand-alone business unit within Werner, and their financial results will be reported in Werner’s One-Way Truckload unit within Truckload Transportation Services.
Then, on November 7, Werner announced it had acquired 100% of stock in Reed Transport Services, Inc., along with the stock of RTS-TMS, Inc., doing business as ReedTMS Logistics. ReedTMS, founded in 1996 and based in Tampa, Florida, is an asset-light logistics provider and truckload carrier that offers a suite of freight brokerage and truckload solutions, a news release stated.
Tenney also pointed to Ascend’s acquisition of Fuchs Trucking as one of the more interesting deals brokered in 2022.
“Private equity-backed Ascend is doing fantastic things. Pay attention: They are acquiring with tremendous speed,” he said. “What was also fascinating is the profile. They have a great management team.”
Tenney further noted that Ascend’s deal to buy Fuchs “doesn’t fit the mold of a huge splash, but (it is) a very high-performing business that has some insulation from broader market trends. That (merger) was a really smart play. Those are (the) types of adjustments in a profile that you will see begin to influence broader growth strategies for some major players in 2023.”
Other notable acquisitions and mergers in 2022 include:
- Angeles Equity and KJM Capital — Freymiller
- Ashley Homestore — Wilson Logistics’ Western Division
- Berger Logistik — Super-T Transport
- Brown Bear Transportation — Abenaqui Carriers
- DB Schenker USA — USA Truck
- Echo Global Logistics — Roadtex Transportation
- FastFrate — Challenger Group
- GXO — Clipper Logistics
- Heartland Express — CFI
- Hirschbach — John Christner Trucking
- Kenan Advantage Group — American PetroLog
- Maersk — Pilot Freight
- Mediterranean Shipping Co. — C&K Holdings
- PAM Transport — Metropolitan Trucking
- Ryder — Whiplash
- TA Services — C2 Freight Resources
- TA Services — KPI Logistics
- Wind Point Partners — XPO’s Intermodal Division
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.