Warren Buffett’s firm to become majority stakeholder of Pilot Flying J in 2023

Pilot Flying J Headquarters, located in West Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. made a significant minority investment into the Knoxville-based Pilot Travel Centers.

At this time, the Haslam family will still be the majority owners of Pilot Flying J. The company is run by Jimmy Haslam, who will stay the chief executive officer. The headquarters will remain in Knoxville.

Jimmy Haslam (Photo: Pilot Flying J)

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

Berkshire Hathaway will acquire a 38.6 percent equity stake in Pilot Flying J and will become the majority shareholder in 2023 by acquiring an additional 41.4 percent equity stake. At that time, the Haslam family will keep 20 percent of the ownership and stay involved in the company.

“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, CEO 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 Flying J has more than 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, making it the largest operator of travel centers in North America.

What the shift in ownership could mean moving forward


Matthew Lyon, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Lincon Memorial University says the ownership shift look like a smart move for the Haslam family so far.

“If they feel like they’re getting a fair price, they’re retaining management control while now being leveraged on any potential changes in technology might affect financially the company in the future, the growth of the company in the future,” said Lyon.

CEO Jimmy Haslam says the partnership will offer more growth opportunity for the prominent East Tennessee business.

“It is not unusual for us to have partners. All of our partners have added value. I certainly think Warren and Berkshire Hathaway will add value to Pilot Flying J,” said Haslam.

As for the company’s future, Lyon says he doesn’t foresee major changes.

“They’ve been very clear about wanting to keep the headquarters in Knoxville so for our community. As we know Pilot is a huge employer in this area but also huge philanthropists. I don’t think that will stop. I think that will continue because that’s part of the culture of the company,” said Lyon.

Lyon is also predicting the Haslam family will continue their leadership and involvement in the company for the indefinite future.

“They’ve been very clear about wanting to keep the headquarters in Knoxville so for our community. As we know Pilot is a huge employer in this area but also huge philanthropists. I don’t think that will stop. I think that will continue because that’s part of the culture of the company,” said Lyon.

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