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ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION FILES REGISTRATION STATEMENT COVERING 15,700,000 SHARES OF COMMON STOCK

 ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION FILES REGISTRATION STATEMENT
 COVERING 15,700,000 SHARES OF COMMON STOCK
 FORT SMITH, Ark., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Arkansas Best Corporation announced that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering an initial public offering of 15,700,000 shares of common stock, of which 10,700,000 shares are being sold by Arkansas Best Corporation and the remaining shares are being sold by Kelso Best Partners, L.P., which currently owns approximately 80 percent of the company.
 Of the shares to be offered, 12,560,000 shares will be offered in the United States and Canada in an offering managed by The First Boston Corporation, Alex. Brown & Sons, Incorporated and Morgan Stanley & Co., Incorporated, and the remaining shares will be offered for sale outside the United States and Canada in an offering managed by Credit Suisse First Boston Limited, Alex. Brown & Sons, Incorporated and Morgan Stanley International. The offerings will include an option to buy an additional 2,355,000 shares from Kelso Best Partners, L.P. to cover over-allotments.
 Arkansas Best intends for its common stock to be traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol ABFS, and it is anticipated that the initial public offering price will be between $14.00 and $16.00 per share. Subsequent to the offering, Kelso Best Partners will own approximately 21.7 percent (11.6 percent if the over-allotment option is exercised in full) of the outstanding common stock and management will own approximately 11.5 percent of the outstanding common stock.
 In connection with the offerings, Arkansas Best Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corporation, intends to offer to purchase all of its currently outstanding 14 percent Senior Subordinated Notes due 1998 at a tender offer price of $1,115.00 per $1,000.00 principal amount of each Note, plus accrued interest, to be funded from the proceeds of the common stock offering. The tender offer will be subject to a number of conditions, including the receipt of tenders for a majority of the Notes, the refinancing of its existing bank credit agreement and the receipt of consents from the holders of at least a majority in principal amount of the Notes to eliminte substantially all of the covenants, to limit events of default and to restrict remedies under the applicable indenture. Arkansas Best Holdings Corp. is proposing to pay a consent payment equal to $30.00 per $1,000.00 principal amount of Notes for which a valid consent is timely received. The consent solicitation will be subject to a number of conditions. The common stock offering is contingent upon the consummation of the tender offer for the Notes. The Dealer-Managers for the tender offer will be The First Boston Corporation, Alex. Brown & Sons, Incorporated and Morgan Stanley & Co., Incorporated.
 Kelso Best Partners, L.P. and certain members of management and key employees acquired Arkansas Best Corporation in a 1988 leveraged buyout. Since the acquisition, management's strategy has been to focus on the company's core businesses and to reduce the acquisition debt. The net proceeds to the company from the sale of the offered stock will be used to repurchase the Notes, make the consent payments and pay the expenses associated with these and associated transactions.
 Arkansas Best Corporation is primarily engaged, through its motor carrier subsidiaries, in less-than-truckload general commodities shipping. ABF Freight System, Inc. accounted for approximately 89 percent of the company's consolidated revenues, having grown since 1978 from the 22nd largest to the fifth-largest motor carrier of general commodities, based on revenues as reported to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The company is also engaged through its 46.4 percent owned subsidiary, Treadco, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRED) in truck tire retreading and sales. Treadco, which accounted for approximately 9 percent of the company's consolidated revenues, is the nation's largest independent tire retreader for the trucking industry and the second-largest commercial truck tire dealer.
 A registration statement related to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state.
 -0- 3/17/92
 /CONTACT: Randall M. Loyd of Arkansas Best, 501-785-6200/
 (TRED) CO: Arkansas Best Corporation; Kelso Best Partners, L.P; Arkansas
 Best Holdings Corp. ST: Arkansas IN: TRN SU:


BR-BN -- AT009 -- 8914 03/17/92 16:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 17, 1992
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