Buffett makes a truck stop, buys big into Pilot Flying J
Buffett buyouts in the region
Three family-owned businesses in East Tennesee and Northwest Georgia have sold to Berkshire Hathaway in the past two decades. Management and local headquarters have remained in place.
* Shaw Industries, a carpet maker in Dalton, Ga. then headed by Bob Shaw, was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001 for $2.1 billion
* Clayton Homes, a manufactured home builder based in Maryville, Tenn., was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2003 for $1.7 billion from founder Jim Clayton
* Pilot Flying J, a chain of truck stops and travel centers headquartered in Knoxville, sold a major stake in the company owned by the Haslam family to Berkshire Hathaway for an undisclosed amount.
Warren Buffett’s company is acquiring a major stake in Pilot Flying J truck stops and it will take over a majority stake within about five years from the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
The ubiquitous truck stops, 750 of them in 44 states and Canada, make up the 15th largest private company in the U.S., according to Forbes, with 27,000 employees and revenue of nearly $20 billion per year.
Berkshire Hathaway and Pilot Travel Centers announced the deal Tuesday morning. Initially, Berkshire will buy 38.6 percent of the company, but in 2023 that will increase to 80 percent.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed, so it wasn’t immediately clear how much of Berkshire’s roughly $100 billion in cash will be used.
Pilot Flying J at a glance
Founded: 1958 by James Haslam II and merged with Flying J in 2009
2017 reveues: $19.6 billion, making it the 15th biggest privately held company in America, according to Forbes magazine.
Staff: 27,100 employees
No. of travel centers: 750 in 44 states
The announcement comes as Bill Haslam is deciding whether to make a bid to succeed U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a fellow Republican and close family friend who made the surprise announcement last week that he won’t seek another term in Congress.