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In twist, YRC Worldwide admits it tried to buy Arkansas Best Corp.

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YRC Worldwide Inc., a Kansas-based trucking company with a large midstate presence, has said it offered to buy out one of its largest rivals, Arkansas Best Corp., after that company spurned its advances.

YRC said Thursday it had made a preliminary proposal to Arkansas Best, owners of YRC’s rival trucking and logistics firm ABF Freight Inc., to buy the company. Arkansas Best’s president and CEO, Judy McReynolds, talked it over with the board of directors but declined to enter into talks with YRC because “timing was not right to consider such a transaction,” according to YRC.

The announcement is a twist in a story that goes back to 2010, when Arkansas Best said it had been pressured by Teamsters union representatives to buy out YRC, which at the time was struggling to get its finances in line. The company has made improvements since then.

Arkansas Best had sued YRC and the Teamsters that year to block a union contract renegotiation that it said was in violation of national agreements the union had with it and other companies.

In yesterday’s announcement, YRC said a combination of the two companies would still make sense for everyone.

“Our board and management believed then and believes now that the combination of Arkansas Best and YRCW would be in the best interests of all employees, customers and shareholders of both companies. We remain committed to continuing the great strides we have made at YRCW,” CEO James Welch said in a statement.

YRC owns Lebanon-based New Penn Motor Express Inc. and has a large distribution hub in Cumberland County. The company trades its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol YRCW.


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