SHOCK: Berkshire Hathaway Buying Pilot Flying J from Haslam Family

The Nashville Business Journal is reporting that Berkshire Hathaway, the company controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, is purchasing 80 percent of the Haslam-family owned Pilot Flying J over the next six years:

Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J has struck a deal with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. that will result in Warren Buffett’s company becoming the chain’s majority owner in a few years.

According to a news release, Berkshire Hathaway is taking an initial 38.6 percent stake in the company. The Haslam family — including CEO Jimmy Haslam, the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam — will continue to operate the company from its Knoxville headquarters. In 2023, Berkshire Hathaway will increase its stake to 80 percent, with the Haslam family retaining the remainder.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pilot Flying J’s 750 locations in U.S. and Canada produce more than $20 billion in annual revenue, according to the news release.

Political and business insiders tell The Tennessee Star Buffett’s purchase of Pilot Flying J comes three weeks ahead of a federal fraud trial of the former president of Pilot Flying J that could implicate current CEO Jimmy Haslam, brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

“Buffett did the Haslam family a favor by buying the company now, before any potential indictment of CEO Jimmy Haslam, but when all the terms are known it will be pretty clear he negotiated a very favorable purchase price,” one insider tells The Star.

Gov. Bill Haslam, who reportedly owns about 15 percent of Pilot Flying J, is currently considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018 to replace Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who announced last week he will not seek re-election.

Corker and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam were college roommates.


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