FT. SMITH, Ark.—Arkansas Best Corp., the former parent of Treadco Inc., is proposing to buy the remaining outstanding shares of Treadco it doesn't already own. The Fort Smith-based firm, which owns a 49-percent stake in the publicly held retreader and commercial tire dealership, wants to purchase Treadco for $9 per share in cash.
The plan already has the support of Shapiro Capital Management Co. Inc., which Treadco said is its largest independent stockholder with approximately 1.13 million shares or 22 percent of Treadco's common stock.
Treadco will form a special committee of independent directors to consider Arkansas Best's offer, but declined to comment on the proposal or when the committee will reach a decision on it.
Arkansas Best's relationship with Treadco dates back to the 1950s. It operated Treadco as a wholly owned subsidiary until 1991 when Arkansas Best experienced a leveraged buyout and needed to pay off debts, said David Humphrey, Arkansas Best's director of investor relations.
Although it divested its controlling interest in Treadco, Arkansas Best always planned to regain the firm, he said, adding: ``The intention has always been to buy it all back eventually or get rid of it.''
Treadco is the third-largest North American retreader of medium and heavy truck tires—producing 2,290 retreads per day—and the fourth largest independent commerical tire dealer, according to Tire Business rankings.
The company retreads for ABF Freight Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Arkansas Best, although Mr. Humphrey said ABF makes up only a small percentage of Treadco's business.
Arkansas Best's business interests include international freight transportation and forwarding, warehousing, logistics services and computer information services.
If Treadco agrees to Arkansas Best's proposal, the company would continue to operate unchanged, as if an acquisition hadn't occurred, Mr. Humphrey said.