Con-way Inc. (CNW) jumped the most in seven weeks after a Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst suggested that the largest U.S. trucking company by sales should be broken up.
The trucker’s directors should “consider all options to unlock shareholder value,” Stifel’s David Ross in Baltimore told clients in a note today. The shares rose 5.6 percent to $33.23 at the close in New York, the most since Jan. 19 and the highest price since Aug. 3.
Con-way is trading based on the value of its so-called less-than-truckload business, which hauls freight from more than one shipper in each trailer, Ross said. That’s the lowest multiple among the three units at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company.
“We don’t think the companies need to be together,” Ross said in a telephone interview. “You don’t need to be a one-stop shop.”
The truckload division and logistics unit could be sold to shareholders or “financial or strategic buyers” to boost returns, said Ross, who rates Con-way as buy.
Menlo Worldwide Logistics, Con-way’s logistics subsidiary, “would have a lot of interest to a lot of people,” including United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), FedEx Corp. (FDX), Ryder System Inc., UTI Worldwide Inc. or Deutsche Post AG (DPW), Ross said.
The unit could also be “interesting to a private-equity firm in terms of buying a non-asset based business and then growing off that Menlo platform and taking it public at some point.”
Gary Frantz, a spokesman for Con-way, said he didn’t have an immediate comment today.
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