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ARKANSAS BEST COMMENCES A PUBLIC OFFERING OF 1,300,000 SHARES OF $2.875 SERIES A CUMULATIVE CONVERTIBLE EXCHANGEABLE PREFERRED STOCK

 FORT SMITH, Ark., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Arkansas Best Corporation (NASDAQ: ABFS) announced today that it has commenced a public offering of 1,300,000 shares of $2.875 Series A Cumulative Convertible Exchangeable Preferred Stock with a liquidation preference of $50 per share.
 The preferred stock is convertible into shares of the Company's common stock at the option of the holder at the rate of approximately 2.54 shares of common stock for each share of preferred stock (equivalent to a conversion price of $19.6875 per share of common stock). The preferred stock is also exchangeable at the option of the Company on or after Feb. 15, 1995, for the Company's 5-3/4 percent Convertible Subordinated Debentures due Feb. 15, 2018, at a rate of $50 principal amount of debentures for each share of preferred stock. The Company has granted the underwriters an option to buy an additional 195,000 shares of preferred stock to cover over-allotments. Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and Alex. Brown & Sons Incorporated are co- managing underwriters of the offering. The preferred stock will be traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol "ABFSP."
 The net proceeds of the offering will be used primarily to repay $50 million which the Company borrowed under a new term loan facility from its existing bank group to finance the Company's recent repurchase of approximately 4,439,000 shares of the Company's common stock from Kelso Best Partners, L.P. The balance of the net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.
 Arkansas Best Corporation is primarily engaged, through its motor carrier subsidiaries, in less-than-truckload general commodities shipping. ABF Freight System, Inc. accounts for approximately 88 percent of the Company's consolidated revenues, having grown since 1965 from the 48th-largest to the fifth-largest motor carrier of general commodities, based on revenues for 1991 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 10 percent of the Company's consolidated revenues for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1992, is the nation's largest independent tire retreader for the trucking industry and the second-largest commercial truck tire dealer.
 A copy of the prospectus may be obtained from Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated, 1251 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, and Alex. Brown & Sons Incorporated, 135 East Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21202.
 -0- 1/28/93
 /CONTACT: Randall M. Loyd of Arkansas Best, 501-785-6200/
 (ABFS TRED ABFSP)


CO: Arkansas Best Corporation ST: Arkansas IN: TRN SU: OFR

BN-BR -- AT002 -- 0039 01/28/93 08:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 28, 1993
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