Haslam family buys out private-equity firm's stake in Pilot Flying J

Haslam family buys out private-equity firm's stake in Pilot Flying J

October 20th, 2015 by Andy Sher in Business Around the Region

Pilot Flying J's corporate headquarters is pictured in a 2013 file photo. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Pilot Flying J's corporate headquarters is pictured in...

Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Pilot Flying J CEO Jim "Jimmy" Haslam III and fellow family members have bought out a Luxembourg-based private-equity firm that at one point held 47.5 percent in the truckstop company, a spokeswoman for the Knoxville-based travel giant confirmed today.

Bill Haslam, left, and Jimmy Haslam.

Bill Haslam, left, and Jimmy Haslam.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Haslam family members holding stakes in Pilot Flying J include Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, brother to Jimmy Haslam.

Earlier today, PetrolPlaza.com reported Haslam family members owning stakes in Pilot Flying J, the nation's largest travel center company, acquired all shares owned by private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

CVC had acquired a 47.5 percent share of the then-Pilot Travel Centers in 2008 from Marathon Oil Corp. In 2010, Pilot Travel Centers bought rival Flying J. Inc.

 In 2013, CVC officials told The Associated Press that it had sold off much of firm's investment and at that point held a 20 percent stake.
In a statement provided to the Times Free Press today, company spokeswoman Anne LeZotte said that "over the years, Pilot, now Pilot Flying J, has had multiple partnerships which began with the expectation of the partner exiting at some point. That time has come in Pilot Flying J's partnership with CVC, which has been a very satisfying relationship since 2008."

In 2014, Pilot Flying J entered a formal agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a $92 million fine as punishment following a federal investigation into the company's role in a scheme to withhold rebates from some of its trucking-firm customers.

The company accepted responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees, ten of whom pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme. But Jimmy Haslam denied any personal involvement.

Gov. Haslam has declined to ever state his holdings in Pilot Flying J. But Forbes Magazine says he is the richest political office holder in the U.S. with a net worth of $2 billion.