Forward Air Stock Plummets After Merger Announced

Forward Air's acquisition of Omni Logistics ignites investor backlash, prompting stock to drop nearly 40%.

Forward Air Stock Plummets After Merger Announced
Source: Foward Air

Forward Air recently became the center of attention for its decision to acquire Omni Logistics for a whopping $3.2 billion. This merge has stirred a whirlwind of reactions, reflecting both the challenges and prospects of the deal.

  • Volume Trends: Forward Air's August statistics indicate a shift. Despite a year-over-year decline of 3% in tonnage during the first two months of Q3, August recorded steady numbers compared to July's 5.9% dip. Interestingly, this performance was a relief from the bleak 7.7% downfall in Q2. The catalyst? Primarily, Yellow Corp’s suspension played a pivotal role.
  • The Omni Acquisition: Following Forward's disclosure of this monumental merger, its stock plummeted dramatically, recording a steep 40% decline, leading to a 36% fall by the week's end. Such drastic financial turbulence underscores the apprehension existing Forward clientele have about the merger. The acquisition of Omni, a significant Forward client, has intensified concerns about competitive dynamics post-merger. In response, Forward vows to maintain "confidentiality and neutrality" by segmenting sales forces. Still, there's widespread anxiety about Forward venturing directly into competition with its erstwhile clientele. Additionally, the equity structure of the deal, involving five million common shares followed by 10 million nonvoting preferred shares, has raised concerns about potential dilution of existing shareholders.
  • Financial Implications: With Omni’s inclusion, Forward is looking at a debt ratio ballooning to four times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) from its current 1.1 times. While management remains optimistic about cost efficiencies, bringing it down to 3.5 times, such high numbers for a cyclical logistics firm raise eyebrows. Plus, the deal will notably elevate Forward Air's revenue to $3.7 billion.

Sources: FreightWaves 1 | FreightWaves 2 | WSJ

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