Another deal: PLS Logistics acquires D&L Transport

Brokers remain top M&A targets

Third-party logistics company PLS Logistics Services announced it has acquired freight broker D&L Transport.

Overland Park, Kansas-based D&L Transport has a network of more than 15,000 motor carriers, brokering loads in modes like truckload, less-than-truckload, heavy haul and intermodal. The non-asset broker logged deals for the shipment of more than 350,000 pieces of freight last year.

D&L Transport, a member of the Transportation Intermediaries Association, will remain a subsidiary of PLS, continuing to operate under its authority. D&L President Brian DeFrain will continue to run the operation and all of the company’s current management and employees are expected to remain on board.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. However, PLS said it expects annual revenue of $1.2 billion in 2022 inclusive of the deal.

“D&L Transport through its national agent network has developed a broad range of services, with particular strength in the dry van, flatbed and refrigerated modes, and an outstanding reputation for customer service,” said Greg Burns, CEO of PLS.

The M&A market for 3PLs remains hot. Almost all modes of transportation have experienced a lift in demand and rates, which has translated into higher earnings for providers. Increases in equity valuation have some brokers punching out at a premium.

Perennially undervalued, publicly traded freight brokerage Echo Global Logistics (NASDAQ: ECHO) announced earlier this month that it was being taken private. The $1.3 billion deal value brought the company’s valuation up to a level that is on par with top peers.

On Tuesday, Transfix announced it reached an agreement to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. The deal provides Transfix with $375 million in cash and places a $1.1 billion enterprise value on the company.

PLS’ acquisition allows D&L Transport to leverage an advanced technology platform and provides it with access to a larger carrier network.

Headquartered just north of Pittsburgh, PLS provides management, brokerage and tech services for shippers in all industries. The company facilitates more than 1 million loads each year in all major freight modes. PLS’ carrier network has more than 65,000 carriers and includes Class I railroads and barge companies.

“We are excited to partner with PLS Logistics and get immediate access to its broad service offering and industry-leading technology, while maintaining our independent operations,” said DeFrain.

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