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Knight Transportation bids $95M for USA Truck

The Associated Press

Knight Transportation Inc. wants to buy fellow trucking company USA Truck Inc. for approximately $94.5 million to help boost its growth.

But USA Truck has not been interested in a deal, Knight said Thursday. Knight said it may consider "modestly" raising its bid if it finds more value in USA Truck during a due diligence process.

USA Truck declined to comment Thursday.

Phoenix-based Knight offered $9 per share for USA Truck, a 39 percent premium to the company's Wednesday closing price of $6.46. Knight Transportation put the deal's total value at about $242 million, including approximately $147 million in USA Truck outstanding debt.

Shares of USA Truck soared $2.53, or 39 percent, to $8.99 in Thursday morning trading. The stock reached a new 52-week high of $9.33 earlier in the session. Knight stock rose $1.16, or 7.3 percent, to $17.16. Shares have traded between $13.74 and $17.73 over the past year.

Knight said it has already purchased about 8 percent of USA Truck's outstanding stock.

USA Truck, based in Van Buren, Ark., is in the midst of a turnaround effort. It hasn't reported an annual profit since 2008.

Knight expects that the proposed buyout would add to its 2014 earnings and in the future.