KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Corporation has closed the sale of its remaining 20% interest in Pilot Travel Centers LLC to Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The Haslam Family made the announcement on Tuesday.
This news comes just two weeks after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Pilot said they had reached an agreement to settle a Delaware lawsuit and resolve a dispute over the valuation of the truck stop chain.
Berkshire and Pilot have agreed to settle the Delaware litigation, including all claims and counterclaims, between Pilot and Berkshire Hathaway, Pilot Travel Centers and National Indemnity Company, the companies said in separate statements.
According to a Reuters report, each side had accused the other of accounting tricks to manipulate Pilot’s earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT, key to determining the value of the Haslams’ remaining 20% stake. An attorney for the billionaire Haslam family called bribery allegations leveled by Warren Buffett’s company a “wild invention.”
Over the last six decades, the company’s network expanded rapidly through a series of =transactions, including with Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Williams, Speedway, Mr. Fuel, Speedway-Wilco, and the merger of Pilot Travel Centers with Flying J in 2010.
Today, 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 14 billion gallons of fuel a year and $3 billion in food and merchandise.
“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 Corporation. “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.”
Prior to the sale, Pilot Flying J was the fifth largest private company in the US.
“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 life-long home of Knoxville, Tennessee, and to furthering our deep commitment and philanthropy throughout the region that we all love.”
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.