Editor's note: This story was updated to add new information following the delisting and comments from Knight-Swift.
Decades-old U.S. Xpress Enterprises will survive, following a shareholder vote to allow Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings to acquire the carrier for more than $800 million.
Shareholders voted at a special meeting Thursday, approving the measure in a landslide and effectively sealing the fate of the merger.
On Monday, U.S. Xpress filed a delisting notice, and its stock stopped trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Knight-Swift CEO and President Dave Jackson said Wednesday in a statement that the deal came amid a "current backdrop of a particularly difficult business environment." But it allowed the carrier "to add one of the largest brands in our industry, with significant opportunity to improve earnings, gain customers and reach more professional drivers," he added.
The approval marks a seismic shift in the TL market, following U.S. Xpress’ decades-long presence in the trucking industry. Co-founders Max Fuller and Patrick Quinn founded the company in 1985 and began operations in 1986.
The transformation comes after the struggling Tennessee-based carrier posted losses from Q3 2022 through Q1 2023. In August 2022, the company announced layoffs for up to 10% of its workers, and a corporate restructuring came shortly after.
Around that same time, the Scudder Law Firm approached U.S. Xpress about financial deals to keep the company intact. In September 2022, Eric Fuller, the carrier’s president and CEO along with his father, Max Fuller, who also serves as executive chairman of the board of directors, expressed the possibility of a deal with Knight-Swift.
After months of discussions and actions from the U.S. Xpress board of directors, Knight-Swift’s offer to acquire the company came in March 2023 for nearly $808 million. The companies said at the time that they expected the new company would have a TL fleet of approximately 25,000 tractors and 93,000 trailers.
With the vote, U.S. Xpress will operate as an indirect subsidiary of Knight-Swift. Knight-Swift is slated to report earnings on July 30.