Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has acquired the remaining 20% interest in Pilot Travel Centers LLC from Pilot Corp., effective today. Pursuant to the terms of a settlement agreement reached with Haslam family over the valuation of that remaining interest, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway now owns 100% of Pilot Travel Centers.
The Haslam family, which includes Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, in 2017 sold 38.6% of Pilot to Berkshire Hathaway for $2.8 billion and, in January 2023, 41.4% for more for $8.2 billion.
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 sharply lower price Berkshire would pay to acquire the family’s remaining 20% stake in[Pilot Travel Centers],” according to a CNBC report.
Berkshire Hathaway countersued the Haslam family.
The companies did not disclose the details of the settlement.
The company is the largest operator of travel centers in North America, with more than 750 locations across 44 states and six Canadian provinces, selling approximately14 billion gallons of fuel a year and approximately $3 billion in food and merchandise. Prior to the sale, Pilot Flying J was the 5th largest private company in the United States, it said.
“Pilot will be staying in Knoxville, you can bet on that,” Buffett told Knox News.
Pilot was founded in Gate City, Virginia, in 1958 by Jim Haslam II. Over the last six decades, the company’s network expanded through organic growth as well as through a series of strategic transactions, including with Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Williams, Speedway, Mr. Fuel, Speedway-Wilco, and the merger of Pilot Travel Centers with Flying J in 2010.
“Pilot started with one gas station 65 years ago, and because of the dedicated and exceptional team members we have had throughout our history, it is now an industry leader,” said Jim Haslam II, founder of Pilot Travel Centers. “While this has certainly been an emotional decision for us, it is one we felt was right for our family at this time. We look forward to continuing to support our lifelong home of Knoxville, Tennessee, and to furthering our deep commitment and philanthropy throughout the region that we all love.”
“As a family business, it is humbling to think of all of the team members who have been a part of Pilot Flying J, and we are beyond grateful for their commitment and contributions over the years,” added Jimmy Haslam, CEO and chairman of Pilot Corp. “We also have profound appreciation for all of the guests, professional drivers and trucking companies who have supported Pilot Flying J as they have been a key part of the evolution and growth of this dynamic industry over the last six decades. We will always consider the Pilot Flying J team as family, and we wish them success as they continue to develop the best travel center network in North America and keep America moving.”
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