TransForce makes unsolicited takeover offer for Vitran; bids US$4.50 per share

MONTREAL - TransForce Inc. (TSX:TFI) has made an unsolicited takeover bid for fellow trucking company Vitran (TSX:VTN), offering US$4.50 in cash for all outstanding shares it doesn't already own.

TransForce, which currently holds 9.51 per cent of Vitran's more than 16.4 million shares, said the proposal was contained in a letter sent to the chairman of Vitran's board.

"TransForce made the proposal with the objective of entering into negotiations with Vitran's board and obtaining its support," the company said in a news release after markets closed.

Vitran stock closed at C$4.85 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up 40 cents or almost nine per cent. The stock was up 16 cents, or 3.5 per cent, at US$4.72 on the Nasdaq, well above the TransForce bid.

Among other things, TransForce said the proposal is conditional upon completion of the sale by Toronto-based Vitran of its U.S. less than truckload business, a deal announced earlier this week.

TransForce said Vitran would remain a stand-alone business within the TransForce group of companies and that it was "very keen that the existing management team remain with Vitran going forward to continue to execute their business plan."

TransForce Inc. operates across North America in the transportation and logistics industry, providing package and courier services, truckload and less than truckload hauling and specialized services to the energy sector, waste management, logistics and others.

Vitran provides freight surface transportation throughout Canada and most U.S. states.