RailAmerica, the conglomeration of 45 short line
and regional railroads, is for sale. Fortress Investment Group, which took RA
private in 2007, has employed Deutsche Bank to find a buyer for its majority
(56 percent) interest in the company, several sources are telling me.
RA’s properties total 7,500 miles of track in 28 states and
include such names as the Arizona & California, Kiamichi, Kyle, and Toledo,
Peoria & Western railroads. Fortress took the company public several years
ago, retaining a majority interest. With the stock trading for more than $23
share and flirting with its all-time high, Fortress presumably feels now would be
a good time to make an exit.
Among the interested buyers, one source says, could be
Berkshire Hathaway, owner of BNSF Railway. You could call RailAmerica the
Little Santa Fe Railway group. Sorry, but the company is not for sale
piecemeal, I am told. If it is your genes to be a railroad mogul, it is all or
nothing, in other words.—Fred W. Frailey