XPO Founder Brad Jacobs Readies $1 Billion Acquisition Firm

Publicly Listed Company Funded Mostly by Jacobs Still Considering Industries to Target
XPO double trailer
An XPO double trailer drives down a mountain road. (XPO)

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Brad Jacobs, the billionaire who founded XPO Logistics Inc., is creating a publicly listed company designed for multiple acquisitions and funded with $1 billion, mostly from Jacobs himself.

YELLOW AUCTION: XPO bids $870 million for 28 properties

Jacobs has not yet said into what industry he plans to expand after starting five companies, including United Rentals Inc. and one snapped up by Waste Management Inc. in 1997. His most recent venture started with a $150 million purchase of a truck brokerage in 2011, and he built it into XPO and two recent spinoffs, which together have sales of about $20 billion.

“With this next venture, we’re aiming to more than double that,” Jacobs said in an interview, referring to the $20 billion in sales. “I want to create a very large company in the new industry. It’ll have scale. It’ll be a fragmented market.”

Jacobs said the industry he’s eyeing is in industrial services and in an area in which applying technology can give him a competitive edge.

As a shortcut to list his latest acquisition vehicle, Jacobs Private Equity II will become majority shareholder of software seller SilverSun Technologies Inc. As part of the deal to gain the listing, Jacobs will fund a $2.5 million dividend that will be paid to SilverSun’s shareholders plus 0.3% of Jacobs’ new venture. SilverSun and its business will be spun out. Jacobs will rename the listed company and form a new board.

Brad Jacobs


Jacobs will contribute $900 million to the venture, and other investors, including Sequoia Heritage, family and friends will contribute $100 million, Jacobs said. The new company will sell more shares publicly to finance acquisitions and growth, said Jacobs, who plans to remain as chairman of trucking company XPO and the two spinoffs — RXO Inc., a freight broker, and GXO Logistics Inc., a warehouse and fulfillment center operator.

XPO ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, while GXO and RXO rank Nos. 6 and 18, respectively, on the TT Top 100 of the largest logistics companies in North America.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are serving as financial advisers to Jacobs, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal adviser. The deal is expected to be completed within four months, Jacobs said.

Jacobs says he has made about 500 acquisitions in his career. Many were family-owned, tool-rental businesses for United Rentals Inc., which he founded in 1997, or small, rural waste-disposal operations for the company he built and sold to Waste Management.

At XPO, deals were fewer and larger. That pattern of bigger acquisitions will continue for his new venture, he said in the interview, with a “shopping list” of firms with sales ranging from $500 million to $1 billion.

Jacobs said one of the keys for success for the new venture will be hiring the right people. He’s already brought on board Mark Manduca, who had been chief investment officer at GXO, and Matt Fassler, a former chief strategy officer at XPO. Jacobs is now looking for a chief financial officer, he said.

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“Great people are rare,” Jacobs said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Of all the different components of what’s going to hopefully make us be more successful than we’ve been in the past even, is sticking to that discipline of only bringing into the company rock stars, superstar people.”

The industrial-service business that Jacobs is looking at will have to benefit from artificial intelligence rather than be hurt by it, he said. He sees machine learning helping to write reports and improve demand forecasts.

“You have to be in a business that AI is not going to replace what you’re doing, but AI is going to make what you do more profitable,” he said.