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TFI to acquire UPS Freight for $800M

Deal will dramatically expand US truckload, LTL footprint

UPS Freight is set to become TFI International's largest acquisition to date. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

TFI International has agreed to acquire UPS Freight for about $800 million, the Canadian trucking and logistics company and UPS (NYSE:UPS) said Monday, in a deal that will transform it into a North American less-than-truckload juggernaut.

The deal, expected to close in the second quarter, will represent TFI’s largest acquisition to date in sheer dollars, dwarfing the $558 million it spent to buy CFI from XPO in 2016. It will bring TFI a comprehensive U.S. LTL network and a dedicated truckload business, which brought in over $3 billion in revenue in 2019.

“We’re excited by this very attractive opportunity to extend our long-standing record of successful growth through acquisition, which will vault TFI International to one of the largest North American LTL carriers,” TFI CEO Alain Bedard said in a statement. 

UPS Freight will operate as TForce Freight. Its 14,500 employees will shift to the new TFI unit, which will also continue serving UPS’ LTL needs under a five-year agreement. UPS Ground customers will also be able to receive freight pricing.

After the acquisition closes, U.S.-based businesses will dominate TFI’s revenue stream. The UPS Freight deal follows the acquisition of Chicago-based third-party logistics provider DLS in September. 

TFI has built itself into one of North America’s largest trucking and logistics companies by acquiring companies with struggling margins — and then aggressively turning them around. 

The deal also represents TFI’s single-largest turnaround project. UPS Freight is expected to post a $463 million operating loss for 2020. It posted a $75 million profit in 2019 and a $26 million loss in 2018.

Bedard has signaled TFI’s desire to get into U.S. LTL through an acquisition. He told analysts that the DLS acquisition was a way for TFI to learn the U.S. LTL market. 

Over the past two years, the Montreal-based company has been building out its asset-light U.S. logistics and final-mile operations through acquisitions to set the groundwork for tapping into the growth of e-commerce. Bedard has likened the business to a “diamond in the rough.”

UPS Freight, however, represents a very different animal — with 197 facilities, 147 of which it owns. It also includes more than 6,300 tractors and 23,000 trailers. 

It also comes with a workforce that is over 75% unionized.

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  1. jerry

    ups was never a fright company, bit off more than they can chew, I’m a former employee and I could see this comings hope my old co workers don’t get screwed! non union company buying a union company. eh not good good luck!

  2. Lori

    I’m also interested in what’s going to happen to the pensions of those that aren’t vested yet. My son in law has worked there less than 5 years and hasn’t been told if his time is going to carry over.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]