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PHOENIX -- Knight Transportation has increased its stake in USA Truck and said it will continue to pursue a takeover of the rival trucking company.

Last week the Phoenix-based Knight Transportation Inc. disclosed it had offered $9 per share for USA Truck Inc. Knight Transportation put the deal's total value at about $242 million, including approximately $147 million in USA Truck outstanding debt.

USA Truck said its board previously reviewed Knight Transportation's offer and unanimously determined that it undervalues the company and is not in its shareholders' best interests.

On Monday, Knight Transportation said that it raised its stake in USA Truck to 11.3 percent from approximately 8 percent.

Knight Transportation also said that it's had talks with several USA Truck shareholders that support its proposal. The company also said that it is "prepared to take the necessary steps to make this combination a reality."

USA Truck is based in Van Buren, Ark.

Shares of USA Truck rose 31 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $8.90 in midday trading while Knight Transportation added 5 cents to $16.56.

Associated Press,

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