Warren Buffett-Led Firm Berkshire Hathaway Buys Remaining 20% Stake in Pilot Travel From Haslam Family

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jan 17, 2024 07:58 AM EST

The Warren Buffett-led conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway announced on Tuesday that it is buying the remaining 20% stake in the Pilot truck stop business of the Haslam family.

According to the Associated Press, Berkshire confirmed it now holds full ownership of Pilot Travel Centers without disclosing the financial terms. 

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SUN VALLEY, IDAHO - JULY 13: Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, makes his way to a morning session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 13, 2023 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Legal Dispute Between Warren Buffett-led Firm Berkshire Hathaway and Pilot Travel

The sale follows a lawsuit settlement between the two sides. In filing the lawsuit, Pilot Corp. claimed that Berkshire Hathaway, which previously held 80% of Pilot Travel Centers, utilized accounting changes to artificially reduce Berkshire's price for the Haslam family's remaining 20% stake in the truck stop chain.

Berkshire responded to the lawsuit by asserting that Jimmy Haslam, the Cleveland Browns owner, attempted to bribe over two dozen Pilot employees to inflate last year's company's profits so the Warren Buffett-led company would have to pay more for the remaining stake in Pilot held by the Haslam family.

Earlier this month, Berkshire and Pilot announced that they had agreed to settle the Delaware lawsuit and resolved the dispute over the valuation of the truck stop chain.

READ ALSO: Warren Buffett's Trusted Associate Charlie Munger Dies at 99: What's Next for Berkshire Hathaway?  

Berkshire Hathaway Acquired Pilot Travel in 2017

Berkshire Hathaway acquired 38.6% of Pilot in 2017 for $2.76 billion before increasing that to 80% last year for an additional $8.2 billion. 

Based on an investor rights agreement with Berkshire, the Haslams have an annual option to sell their remaining 20% interest in Pilot to Berkshire beginning January 1, 2024, and they have until February 29 to exercise the option.

The sale price would be determined based on Pilot's earnings in the prior year. The Tennessee-based Pilot Travel Centers is a fuel company that operates hundreds of travel centers, mainly under the name Pilot or Flying J, in 43 US states and six Canadian provinces.

Aside from the truck stop business, Berkshire Hathaway owns several other businesses, including Geico insurance and BNSF railroad. It also holds a significant stock portfolio in various big companies.

READ MORE: Warren Buffett Donates a Whooping $870 Million in Berkshire Hathaway Stock to 4 Charities Before Thanksgiving 

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