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Private less-than-truckload carrier Estes Express Lines’ new bid of $1.525 billion for Yellow’s terminals is now the front-runner, court documents revealed Wednesday.

A filing in a Delaware bankruptcy court showed the carrier entered a stalking horse offer eclipsing the $1.5 billion bid made by rival Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ: ODFL). Estes started the bidding war in mid-August when it made a $1.3 billion offer.

The motion showed Yellow has designated the Estes offer as the best so far and requested the court to rule on the matter by Sept. 22 to avoid the risk of it being withdrawn. The new bid exceeds all amounts owed to secured creditors.

“We are pleased to have been designated as the real estate stalking horse bidder,” a representative from Estes told FreightWaves. “We believe our proposed transaction is mutually beneficial to both Estes and the Yellow bankruptcy estate. We look forward to participating in this process and working collaboratively with the parties in the case and appreciate everyone’s efforts to date.”

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