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Let me start by apologizing for getting this edition of Hooked Up out a little later in the day than usual. I experienced a small setback this month, in the form of a catastrophic computer failure. Thankfully our IT staff was able to recover my hard drive and keep my downtime to a minimum. And then, right on deadline, we had some major news break, which you have no doubt heard about by now. Last night upon the closing of the stock markets, Vitran Corp. announced it entered into an agreement with Manitoulin Transport to sell itself for US$6 per outstanding share. That’s a better deal than Vitran had received in the past, representing a 10.3% premium over its worth when trading concluded yesterday.

Manitoulin seemingly came out of nowhere with this offer, which was significantly higher than the US$4.50 TransForce offered on Sept. 25. The deal is said to be worth about $128 million and includes 23 terminals. It’s a bold move for Manitoulin.

As always, was the first to report the deal, and we followed up with insight from trucking analyst extraordinaire David Newman of Cormark Securities to get his take. He initially felt it would be too soon to rule out TransForce from making an even better offer, but upon further reflection, David told us it’s unlikely TransForce would engage in a bidding war, especially when taking into account the break fees that would need to be paid.

“TFI is the most logical buyer of VTN,” David concluded. “TFI has the ability to pay up for VTN, but may choose to take a pass as it considers the $6/share transaction to be quite rich, especially when considering corporate costs.”

For more reaction, check out this piece.

For a rundown of Manitoulin’s recent acquisitions, go here.

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