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Knight, Swift merge as $6 billion truckload powerhouse

Posted: April 10, 2017

PHOENIX, AZ — Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation are merging in a blockbuster deal that creates the biggest truckload fleet in North America, valued at close to US $6 billion.

Created through an all-stock transaction, the new Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings will trade on the stock exchange as KNX.

Collectively, Knight and Swift had US $5 billion in annual revenue and were among the Top 5 truckload operations in dry van, refrigerated, dedicated, and cross-border sectors, while also holding a significant presence in brokerage and intermodal markets, the companies said.

Knight-Swift Transportation will remain headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and have about 23,000 tractors, 77,000 trailers, and 28,000 employees.

Swift shareholders will own about 54% of the combined companies. Each Swift share converts to 0.72 shares of Knight-Swift. Based on a US $30.65 closing price, that sets the share value at $22.07.

“By coming together under common ownership, the companies will be able to capitalize on economies of scale to achieve substantial synergies,” said Richard Dozer, Swift chairman. “This is an exciting chapter in the Swift story and everyone who is a part of it should be both proud of what we bring to the table and excited about what lies ahead.”

The two brands will still be operated independently and with existing leaders, said Dave Jackson, Knight’s Chief Executive Officer.

Added Swift founder and controlling stockholder Jerry Moyes: “I cannot think of a better combination. The Knight and Moyes families grew up together, and the Knights helped me build Swift before starting their own company and making it an industry leader in growth and profitability. I am confident that we have the right approach to maximizing the contribution of both teams, and I look forward to helping the Knight-Swift leadership team in any way I can to continue the legacy of both great companies.”

The combined company expects to generate pre-tax revenue and cost synergies of about US $15 million in the second half of this year, $100 million in 2018, and $150 million in 2019. Cited synergies include sharing best practices, purchasing power, broader geographic scale, and lower interest costs. Combined, the companies had about US $1 billion in net debt last year.

This year, Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings expects US $345 to $410 million in net capital expenditures.

Kevin Knight will serve as executive chairman and Gary Knight will serve as vice chairman. The new board of directors will include all existing Knight directors and four Swift board members. Jerry Moyes’ family will designate two directors. Richard Dozer and David Vander Ploeg were chosen by the Swift board.

The executive team will include executive chairman Kevin Knight, Chief Executive Officer Dave Jackson, and Chief Financial Officer Adam Miller. Once the transaction closes, Kevin Knight will serve as president of the Swift operating entities. Swift’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer will leave the business after the transaction is completed.

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