Knight Transportation Inc. of Phoenix now owns 11.3 percent of USA Truck Inc.'s shares, four days after the Van Buren-based long-haul trucking company rejected an unsolicited $242 million buyout bid at $9 a share.
Claiming support from "several of USA Truck's largest shareholders" in an acquisition attempt that first dates to Sept. 6, Knight Transportation said Monday it was "disappointed that USA Truck has once again rejected Knight's all-cash, premium proposal." USA Truck has said the offer undervalues its stock, following signs of recovery from its turnaround strategy. A Stephens Inc. transportation analyst said Thursday that the per share book value of USA Truck's stock is $10.25.
In an amendment to its Schedule 13D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, Knight notes that it purchased 829,946 private shares on Sept. 18 at a cost of $7 a share. The larger company then bought 150,000 shares at $8.85 on the open market at $8.85 on Sept. 26, and 212,418 shares on Sept. 27 at $8.86. Knight Transportation now owns 1,192,364 shares.
USA Truck has experienced six months of decreased losses this year under the new leadership of CEO and President John Simone, but has about $147 million of outstanding net indebtedness. Simone's turnaround strategy has shown a 7.5 percent increase in base revenue the first six months of 2013.
Celadon Trucking of Indianapolis took $4.66 million in USA Truck stock in October 2011. USA Truck's board of directors adopted a "poison pill" provision in November 2012 to cap stock ownership at 15 percent and allow for a 10-day "redemption period to allow for negotiations following that cap. Knight would need to buy about 407,600 more shares to reach that 15 percent cap, according to USA Truck CFO Cliff Beckham.
"We continue to believe that a combination of Knight and USA Truck is better positioned to deliver value for and is in the best interest of all of Knight and USA Truck's stakeholders, and we are prepared to take the necessary steps to make this combination a reality," a Knight Transportation news release noted Monday.
Knight stock closed Monday at $16.52, up .01. USA Truck closed at $8.96, up .37.
Knight Transportation in federal court documents denies it violated a confidentiality agreement with USA Truck, and also denies it's attempting a hostile takeover of the Van Buren-based trucking...
USA Truck is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Knight Transportation's continued purchase of USA Truck stock in an attempted hostile takeover of the Van Buren-based trucking company.
Van Buren, Ark.-based USA Truck on Thursday rejected a $242 million buyout bid from Knight Transportation Inc. of Phoenix.