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American Railcar offers $543M for rival Greenbrier

NEW YORK (AP) -- Carl Icahn is again trying to bring together railcar makers American Railcar and Greenbrier. American Railcar, which he controls, has offered to buy Greenbrier for $542.9 million.

Shares of both companies rose, with American Railcar stock hitting its highest price in more than five years, even as analysts warned that regulators would look closely at a combination of the companies.

Icahn bought a nearly 10 percent share in Greenbrier last month, saying then that its shares were undervalued. The activist investor, known for buying into struggling companies and shaking them up, also tried to combine the two companies back in 2008, but talks failed.

American Railcar Industries Inc., which is based in St. Charles, Mo., bid $20 per share for Greenbrier Cos., according to a Tuesday Securities and Exchange Commission filing. That's 5 percent higher than Greenbrier's closing price Monday of $18.97.

Officials for Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Greenbrier didn't return an email seeking comment.

Greenbrier has said that its prospects for 2013 are unclear because of the weak economy and uncertain economic outlook. In the quarter through August, profit dropped more than 40 percent because of delivery delays and severance pay costs. Shares had dropped 22 percent since the beginning of the year.

Analysts said that while the acquisition could be a good one for American Railcar, any deal between the two companies would most likely receive scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

"We see substantial antitrust resistance," said Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold in a research note Tuesday.

In afternoon trading, American Railcar shares rose $2.56, or 8 percent, to $34.78. They peaked earlier at $35, their highest level since August 2007. Shares had already risen 35 percent this year through Monday's close.

Meanwhile, Greenbrier shares rose $1.43, or 7.5 percent, to $20.40 — above the bid from American Railcar. That suggests investors think there may be a higher offer in store. Over the past 52 weeks, Greenbrier shares have traded between $13.10 and $26.66.