American Railcar, which is controlled by activist investor Mr Carl Icahn, offered $US 20 - 22 per share in cash for Greenbrier, just over four years after making a similar $US 30 per share offer which failed due to what was cited at the time as "unresolved issues." However, while it did not state what it considers to be a fair price in order to agree to sell, Greenbrier said it is willing to continue discussions with Icahn because it believes combining the two companies would offer substantial synergies and be beneficial to shareholders of both firms.

Greenbrier even expressed an interest in purchasing American Railcar stating that it is willing "to consider any combination of Greenbrier and American Railcar." Greenbrier said that it repeatedly told Icahn that it would be interested in purchasing American Railcar "for a modest premium."

Greenbrier's shares have risen by 36% since Icahn became the company's largest shareholder when he acquired a 9.9% stake last month, while American Railcar reported a 8% hike on the Nasdaq yesterday to $US 34.80. American Railcar has a reported market capitalisation of $US 733.7m with Icahn Enterprises holding a 55.6% stake.

Both companies manufacture, repair and refurbish freight wagons. Greenbrier received orders for 2900 wagons during the fourth quarter of its financial year, which ended in August, around half that reported the previous year following a slump in demand from the energy sector, while the company reported a quarterly profit November, around half of what was projected, and a weak 2013 is forecast. This follows rapid growth during 2011 due to strong demand for tank wagons to transport crude oil and sand for hydraulic fracturing enabling it to ramp up production and increase prices.