Buffett bets on Flying J, gets majority in 2023

OMAHA, NE – Famed investor Warren Buffett is taking a minority stake in Pilot Flying J truck stops through Berkshire Hathaway, although the Haslam family will still hold a majority stake in the chain until 2023.

Jimmy Haslam will remain in his role as Chief Executive Officer, while president Ken Parent and the rest of the management team also remains in place.

Pilot Flying J is North America’s largest operator of travel centers, with more than 27,000 employees and 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and reports more than US $20 billion in revenue.

Berkshire Hathaway will initially acquire a 38.6% equity stake in Pilot Flying J, while the Haslam family will hold 50.1%. FJ Management, owned by the Maggelet family, will hold 11.3% until 2023. That’s when Berkshire will become the majority shareholder – acquiring an additional 41.4% equity stake — and the Haslam family’s stake will drop to 20%.

 “Pilot Flying J is built on a longstanding tradition of excellence and an unrivaled commitment to serving North America’s drivers,” Warren Buffett, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement. “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,” said Jimmy Haslam, Chief Executive Officer of Pilot Flying J. “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.”

Pilot merged with Flying J to form today’s company, which has since added Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Williams, Speedway, Mr. Fuel, and Speedway-Wilco locations to the network. The company also has more than 100 roadside assistance trucks under its Truck Care Program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 35 Boss Shops.

The locations represent more than 70,000 parking spaces, 4,900 showers, and 5,000 diesel lanes.

Berkshire’s other transportation-related holdings include BNSF railroad, Geico Insurance, and Marmon Holdings.

Pilot Flying J made headlines in 2014 when it paid a US $92 million fine, following a criminal probe based on withholding diesel fuel rebates. Several executives were also charged in that case.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Yeah what a joke the huge get bigger off the truckers
    Hard work and sweat. Outlandish prices on everything and the highest fuel prices in the industry for small and independent operators but large savings for the mega carriers because of volume sold . What’s so great about that and Buffett lol well let’s
    See how much more money they will try and make . There robbing truckers blind and don’t care one bit because they know that most need what they have. But not me and many others who don’t like being ripped off by the huge corporations. When is enough enough when it comes to the driving the small companies out of business? Give me a
    Old mom and pop truck stop any day at least your helping another small business who appreciates your business and hard work.