OMAHA, Neb. and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (“Berkshire”) and Pilot Flying J said jointly Wednesday that Berkshire has made a significant minority investment in Pilot Travel Centers LLC, which does business as Pilot Flying J.
The Haslam family will continue to own a majority of Pilot Flying J and Jimmy Haslam will remain as CEO.
Pilot Flying J President Ken Parent and the company’s management team will also remain in place. The company will continue to be headquartered in Knoxville.
Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers in North America, with more than 27,000 team members, 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and more than $20 billion in revenues. Pilot Flying J officials said the investment will expand Pilot Flying J’s opportunities for growth, as the company remains committed to delivering outstanding service for the trucking industry, professional drivers, local communities and interstate travelers across North America.
Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire will acquire a 38.6 percent equity stake in Pilot Flying J.
The Haslam family will continue to hold a majority interest with 50.1 percent ownership in the company and FJ Management Inc., owned by the Maggelet family, will retain 11.3 percent ownership until 2023.
In 2023, Berkshire will become the majority shareholder by acquiring an additional 41.4 percent equity stake and the Haslam family will retain 20 percent ownership in the company and remain involved with Pilot Flying J.
“Pilot Flying J is built on a longstanding tradition of excellence and an unrivaled commitment to serving North America’s drivers,” said Warren Buffett, chairman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “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.”
“Given the impeccable reputation of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and our shared vision and values, we decided this was an ideal opportunity,” Haslam said. “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 — they believe in our strategy, support our team and are excited to see Pilot Flying J grow. We are honored and humbled to partner with them.”
James Haslam II, founder and chairman, Pilot Travel Centers said, “Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in Pilot Flying J is a testament to our exceptional team members and their dedication that has made Pilot Flying J the great company it is today. Berkshire Hathaway’s commitment to keep Pilot Flying J in Knoxville was most important to us. The Knoxville community is an integral part of our company and our family. We are committed to continuing to make a difference in Tennessee, supporting and giving back to our communities here at home.”
The company said in a news release that the investment by Berkshire Hathaway reflects the success of a series of transformational milestones that have allowed the company to evolve and strengthen its capabilities and market position over the last several decades.
These milestones include the merger of Pilot with Flying J to create today’s company, as well as transactions with Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Williams, Speedway, Mr. Fuel and Speedway-Wilco that have grown the Company’s network.