Berkshire Hathaway acquires stake in US truck stop operator Pilot Flying J

Warren Buffett's investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc yesterday said that it has acquired a 38.6-per cent stake in the largest US truck stop operator Pilot Travel Centers LLC, better known as Pilot Flying J, and will become the majority owner in six years.

The Haslam family will continue to own a majority of Pilot Flying J and Jimmy Haslam will  remain its CEO, while Pilot Flying J president Ken Parent and the company's management team will also remain in place.

Under the terms of the deal, Berkshire will acquire a 38.6-per cent stake and the Haslam family will continue to hold a majority 50.1 per cent in the company, while the Maggelet family's FJ Management Inc will retain its 11.3-per cent stake in Pilot Flying J until 2023.

In 2023, Berkshire will become the majority shareholder by acquiring an additional 41.4 per cent, taking its stake to 80 per cent.

The Haslam family will retain 20 per cent and remain involved with Pilot Flying J, Berkshire said in a statement.  

Berkshire did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but the Bloomberg Billionaires Index values the business at $9.1 billion, and calculates the Haslam family's 50.1 per cent stake at $4.5 billion.

Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Flying J was founded in 1958 by Jim Haslam with a single gas station. It is now the largest operator of travel centres in North America having 750 locations, employs more than 27,000 people and generates annual revenue of over $20 billion.

''Pilot Flying J is built on a longstanding tradition of excellence and an unrivaled commitment to serving North America's drivers,'' said Warren Buffett.

''Jimmy Haslam and his team have created an industry leader and a key enabler of the nation's economy. The Company has a smart growth strategy in place and we look forward to a partnership that supports the trucking industry for years to come,'' he added.

''Given the impeccable eputation of Warren Buffett' Berkshire Hathaway, and

our shared vision and values, we decided  this was an ideal opportunity,'' said Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J.

''As a family business that has evolved and prospered over the last six decades, we knew that any potential partner would need to share our commitment and have a proven track record as a long-term investor. We have that in Berkshire Hathaway,'' he added.

Buffett's other investments include companies such as Apple, IBM,  Duracell, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines Group, Bank of New York Mellon and many more.