Daseke Founder Sells Shares Amid Board Retirement

Don Daseke
Don Daseke by Daseke Inc.

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Daseke Inc. founder Don Daseke will sell his holdings in the company and step down from its board of directors, the company announced Nov. 14.

The company had been pursuing a recently announced stock repurchase program.

“Shortly after announcing our $40 million repurchase program, Mr. Daseke informed us of his desire to sell his holdings in the company for estate planning purposes, retire from the board and focus his efforts on his philanthropic interests,” said Jonathan Shepko, the company’s CEO. “This provided us with a unique opportunity to repurchase a substantial portion of our outstanding shares on very friendly terms.”

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Don Daseke and his affiliates collectively own 17,932,725 shares in the company, which are being acquired at a purchase price of $6 per share. The total consideration for those shares is $107.6 million.

The company will pay $40 million cash. It also will issue 67,597 shares of Series B Perpetual Redeemable Preferred Stock in exchange for the repurchased shares at an aggregate initial liquidation preference of $67.6 million, redeemable at the company’s discretion for the original liquidation preference plus accrued and unpaid dividends, it said. The per-share purchase price represents about 28.6% of the company’s issued and outstanding common shares as of Nov. 9.

Don Daseke and his affiliates have also agreed to a five-year standstill with the company, which means they are prevented from purchasing any of its stock during that term.

“Our board and management team are pleased to be able to opportunistically repurchase shares on terms very favorable to the company,” Daseke Chairman Chuck Serianni said. “We believe this transaction clearly demonstrates our confidence in the company’s operating model and strong belief the company will continue to successfully execute in its transformation strategy, each of which are poised to generate significant future value for our shareholders.”

Don Daseke founded the flatbed and specialized transportation company in 2008, then grew it substantially before retiring as CEO and chairman in August 2019.

After his departure, the company launched a series of business improvement plans and formed an internal council of CEOs from the flatbed carriers it owns. It also has been focused on reducing operating ratios and cut costs.

“Shifting capital earmarked for an open-market share buyback to support this repurchase has put us in a great position to lock in what we believe to be an extremely attractive repurchase price in a single transaction,” Shepko said. “For the foreseeable future, our priority will now be continuing our trend of deleveraging our business.”

Daseke during the third quarter reported total revenue rose 9% to $462.8 million from $424.6 million the prior year. It also posted net income of $12.6 million, or 17 cents per diluted share attributable to common stockholders. That compared with $20.9 million, 30 cents, during the same time the previous year.

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The company paused open-market stock repurchases under its repurchase plan Nov. 1. Prior to that the company had purchased 803,554 shares at a weighted average price of $6.05 per share from Oct. 10 through Oct. 31.

“Mr. Daseke built the foundation of something truly special in Daseke, and we are thankful for his vision and his many years of service,” Serianni said. “We wish him well as he enters the next stage of his life, focused on extending his legacy through his charitable giving.”

Don Daseke will retain the position of chairman emeritus on the company’s board.

Daseke ranks No. 31 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.