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COX TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ACQUIRES OUTWEST EXPRESS

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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
December 21, 2022 GMT

Expedition and Prudential Lead Cox Recapitalization

CHICAGO, Dec. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Cox Transportation Services (“Cox” or the “Company”) today announced the acquisition of Outwest Express, a leading provider of truckload freight services across the Southwestern United States with a strong expertise in Mexican cross-border logistics. The acquisition is consistent with Cox’s strategy of building a premier truckload carrier through organic growth and by acquiring attractive businesses in the fastest-growing transportation sectors in the United States. Expedition Capital Partners and Prudential Private Capital (“Prudential”) led a concurrent majority recapitalization of Cox in support of the Outwest acquisition and the Company’s continued strategic growth plans. Truist served as the lead senior debt financing partner across a five bank syndicated deal.

Outwest Acquisition

Established in 2010 by Michael Puzio and Zachary Chilson, Outwest operates a fleet of more than 400 tractors and 1,200 trailers serving a diversified group of more than 300 customers across the retail, medical, manufacturing, automotive and electronics industries. Based in El Paso, TX, with terminals in Kansas City, MO and McAllen, TX, Outwest specializes in managing complex Mexican cross-border logistics, which is one of the fastest-growing transportation marketplaces in North America. Outwest has capitalized on the strong tailwinds in near-shoring by manufacturers, driven by the relatively lower cost of shipping finished goods from Mexico versus overseas locales such as China, faster speed-to-market, a compelling cost of labor and a business-friendly environment. Puzio and Chilson will continue to lead the Outwest business, reporting to Cox CEO Jay Smith, and will retain significant ownership stakes in the combined company. The acquired business will continue to operate under the Outwest brand.

Jay Smith, CEO of Cox, stated, “I am delighted to join forces with Michael, Zach and the entire Outwest team. We admire the business they built and view it as a perfect complement to ours. By combining Outwest’s capacity and expertise with Cox’s, we can better serve our customers and enhance our role as a trusted and critical supply chain partner. This acquisition represents an important first step in our ongoing efforts to broaden and deepen our ability to serve our customers across truckload transportation and brokerage.”

Mike Hendrie, Founder and Managing Director of Expedition Capital Partners, added “We had a well aligned strategy when partnering with Jay and team two years ago – find other best of breed companies with blue chip customers that share the culture and values of Cox in order to build a much larger, world-class transportation company with enhanced offerings for our customers. We are very proud that we have been able to accomplish this goal in our combination with Outwest, Michael Puzio and Zach Chilson, and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to grow the platform.”

Michael Puzio, co-founder of Outwest, added, “Zach and I felt strongly that it was the right time to align Outwest with a strong truckload carrier like Cox with a clear and demonstrated plan for success in today’s transportation marketplace. Cox and Outwest have similar customer- and driver-centric cultures that inspire world-class service. Both companies have proven teams of experienced employees who can benefit from the enhanced career prospects of a larger organization. Zach and I will continue to be deeply invested and focused on ensuring great outcomes for all our employees and customers.”

Jay Smith added, “I am humbled to count Prudential as a partner in completing the Outwest acquisition and building Cox for long-term success. In combination with our current sponsor at Expedition Capital Partners, we have truly built a deep and sophisticated team that will prove invaluable as we execute our strategic plan.”

Advisors

John Gamero of FV Advisory Group served as financial advisor to Outwest, and Scudder Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O. acted as legal advisor. Williams Mullen and Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C. acted as legal advisors to Cox with respect to the Outwest acquisition. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP acted as legal advisors to Cox with respect to the recapitalization transaction.

About Cox

Established in 1982, Cox provides freight hauling and brokerage services to customers in a diversified group of industries across the U.S. The Company specializes in transporting time-sensitive full truckload freight on a local, regional and national basis. Cox also operates a brokerage division that serves carriers and freight customers with logistics optimization services. The Company is based in Ashland, VA. Adding additional assets to support growth with both existing and new customers, as well as acquiring attractive businesses with complementary routes and customer bases, represent the core of Cox’s strategic growth plans.

About Expedition Capital Partners

Expedition Capital Partners (“ECP”) is an independent sponsor private equity firm focused on partnering with experienced operators to acquire and grow businesses in the middle and lower-middle markets. Since inception, ECP has acquired 38 companies across six core platform investments. For more information, please visit www.expedition-partners.com.

About Prudential Private Capital

For nearly 100 years, Prudential Private Capital has been partnering with a wide range of corporations, sponsors, and institutions to provide valuable insights and customized capital solutions that enable them to achieve their growth and funding goals. In an industry where capital can seem like a commodity and relationships are often fleeting and transactional, we are known for building enduring local partnerships based on a steady and patient commitment to our partners’ long-term capital needs. With regional teams in 15 offices around the world, we manage a portfolio of over $92.7 billion for our partners (as of September 30, 2022). For more information, please visit www.prudentialprivatecapital.com.

CONTACT:
Mr. Michael Hendrie
Expedition Capital Partners LLC
(773) 857-0210
mike@expedition-partners.com

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SOURCE Expedition Capital Partners