Buffett buys big family business after introduction by Byron Trott

Pilot Flying J has more than stations throughout the US              Photo: Wikimedia
Pilot Flying J has more than stations throughout the US              Photo: Wikimedia

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has bought a big stake in Pilot Flying J, a family business that runs a huge US truck stop chain. The deal will also see Berkshire becoming the biggest shareholder within six years.

Berkshire has agreed to acquire 38.6% of Pilot Flying J, based in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Haslam family will continue to hold a majority stake in the business, which was set up in Gate City, Virginia as a single gas station in 1958 by  Jim Haslam. Pilot Flying J is big, generating more than $20 billion in revenue last year. It now has more than 750 locations across North America and employs 27,000 people. In terms of revenue, it is the 56th biggest family business in the world, according to the University of St Gallen’s Family Business Index.

Second generation Jimmy Haslam is the CEO of Pilot Flying J and will remain in the position. According to Bloomberg, Haslam befriended Buffett after being introduced earlier this year by Byron Trott, the Chicago investor who has numerous connections with sizable family businesses across the world.

Another business called FJ Management and controlled by the Maggelet family owns an 11.3% stake in the Pilot Flying J, and will retain that stake until Berkshire becomes in biggest shareholder in 2023.