Fenway Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Panther Expedited Services, Inc. (“Panther”) to Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq: ABFS) for approximately $180 million.
Peter Lamm, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fenway Partners, said, “During Fenway’s ownership of Panther, we partnered with management to significantly grow and diversify the company’s revenue base, broaden and deepen the management team, improve the customer value proposition, and increase earnings and domestic headcount. We transitioned Panther from the entrepreneurial stage to a professionally managed business, and are pleased that Arkansas Best, a very well respected transportation company, is making this strategic acquisition. This transaction comes on the heels of our very successful sale of 1-800 CONTACTS to WellPoint, reinforcing our ability to build businesses that are attractive to strategic acquirers. We look forward to continuing to deliver value to our investors.”
Timothy Mayhew, Managing Director of Fenway Consulting Partners and a member of Panther’s Board of Directors, said, “Since acquiring the company in 2005, we have worked closely with Founder Daniel Sokolowski, CEO Andrew Clarke and their team at Panther to achieve our goal of transforming the company into the leading provider of premium transportation and logistics services and the largest independently-owned provider of expedited ground transportation in North America. Amongst other notable accomplishments, we expanded Panther’s global freight forwarding network, which significantly broadened the market in which the company operates. Not only has this been a successful investment for Fenway, we are confident that this transaction with a well-respected strategic buyer like Arkansas Best will best position Panther and its employees for future growth and enduring success during the next phase of its development.”
The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close on or about June 15, 2012. J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Scudder Law Firm served as legal advisor to Fenway on this transaction.