Mergers & Acquisitions

Final 20% of Pilot Travel Centers Cost Berkshire Hathaway $2.6 Billion

Figure disclosed in conglomerate’s annual report brings total price of acquisition to about $13.6 billion
Pilot exterior - owned by Berkshire Hathaway
Photograph courtesy of Pilot

The final cost of Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Pilot Travel Centers LLC is about $13.6 billion, which comes after the company on Jan. 17 acquired the remaining 20% ownership for $2.6 billion, a figure disclosed in Berkshire’s 2023 annual report, released Feb. 24.

The Haslam family, which includes Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, in 2017 sold 38.6% of Pilot to Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway for $2.8 billion and, in January 2023, 41.4% for more for $8.2 billion.

The deal closed after the two sides earlier in January resolved a lawsuit concerning how Berkshire accounted for the value of Pilot stores.

  • Pilot Co. is No. 13 on CSP’s 2023 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count.

The lawsuit, filed in October, accused the conglomerate of using improper accounting to devalue the Haslams’ remaining 20% stake in the Knoxville, Tennessee-based travel center company. This would have led to a much lower price Berkshire would pay to acquire the family’s remaining 20% stake in Pilot Travel Centers.

The companies did not disclose the details of the settlement. The trial would have been held in Delaware Chancery Court.

At the time, Pilot released a statement saying that on behalf of the company and the Haslam family, it’s “pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement to fully settle the Delaware litigation between the company and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Pilot Travel Centers LLC, and National Indemnity Co., including the dismissal of all claims and counterclaims against each other.”

Berkshire Hathaway released a similar statement.

The counterclaim is in reference to Berkshire Hathaway in November countersuing, accusing Jimmy Haslam of “promising secret payments to staff that would inflate the price Berkshire would have to pay for the Haslam family's 20% stake in truckstop operator Pilot Travel Centers,” according to Reuters.

Pilot Co. is the largest operator of travel centers in North America, with more than 750 locations across 44 states and six Canadian provinces, selling about 14 billion gallons of fuel a year and about $3 billion in food and merchandise.

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