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ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION ANNOUNCES STOCK REPURCHASE

 ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION ANNOUNCES STOCK REPURCHASE
 FORT SMITH, Ark., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Arkansas Best Corporation


(NASDAQ-NMS: ABFS) announced today that it has repurchased approximately 4,439,000 shares of its common stock for $12.50 per share (approximately $55.5 million in the aggregate) which were owned by an affiliate of Kelso & Company, Inc.
 After giving effect to the repurchase, Arkansas Best will have approximately 18 million shares outstanding.
 Prior to the repurchase, as a result of a leveraged buyout of the company in 1988, Kelso had been the company's largest shareholder with approximately 5,089,000 shares of common stock. Concurrent with the repurchase, Kelso is distributing its remaining 650,000 shares of common stock to certain of its individual partners, thus ending Kelso's investment in the company.
 Robert Young, chairman of Arkansas Best, commented: "Kelso has been a good investor and we have benefited from their help and guidance. Acquiring their block of stock at an attractive price is an excellent opportunity to enhance value for our remaining shareholders and to eliminate the market overhang represented by Kelso's shares. The additional leverage required, we believe, is prudent when compared to the potential long-term benefit to our shareholders."
 The repurchase was approved by an independent committee of the board, the members of which were not affiliated with Kelso and who had retained independent financial and legal advisors. The repurchase was funded by $5.5 million of borrowings under the company's existing revolving credit facility and $50 million of borrowings under a new five-year term loan credit facility provided by its existing bank group.
 Frank Nickell, president of Kelso, commented: "We have enjoyed our relationship with Arkansas Best and believe the company has an outstanding future. As a leveraged buyout firm, however, it is normal for us to seek liquidity for our investors when we no longer have control."
 Arkansas Best Corporation is primarily engaged, through its motor carrier subsidiaries, in general commodities trucking. Arkansas Best is also engaged through its 46.4 percent owned subsidiary, Treadco, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRED), in truck tire retreading and sales, which accounted for approximately 9 percent of its consolidated revenues in 1991.
 The closing sale price of the common stock quoted through NASDAQ-NMS on Nov. 12, the last day prior to the repurchase, was $14 per share.
 -0- 11/12/92
 /CONTACT: Randall Loyd of Arkansas Best, 501-785-6200/
 (ABFS TRED) CO: Arkansas Best Corporation; Kelso & Company, Inc. ST: Arkansas IN: TRN SU:


BR-EA -- AT005 -- 0641 11/13/92 11:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 13, 1992
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