Jimmy Haslam acquired the funds necessary to buy the Browns as a result of the tremendous success of the truck-stop company his father founded in the 1950s. Now, the Haslam family will be selling a large chunk of that company to one of the richest men in the world.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., owned and operated by 87-year-old Warren Buffett, will buy 38.6 percent of Pilot Flying J. The Haslam family will continue to control the company, and Jimmy Haslam will continue to serve as CEO.
Come 2023, Buffett’s company will own 80 percent of the company, with the Haslam family keeping 20 percent.
“Jimmy Haslam and his team have created an industry leader and a key enabler of the nation’s economy,” Buffett said in the statement, via Bloomberg.com. “We look forward to a partnership that supports the trucking industry for years to come.”
“He truly wants us to run the company, wants us to maintain the culture, and of course, if there is an opportunity for us to grow the company substantially, he’s got plenty of capital,” Haslam said in an interview on CNBC, according to Bloomberg. “It’s just a marriage that we thought made a lot of sense.”
The transaction represents a public endorsement of the company by one of the most savvy investors in American history, and it confirms that an embarrassing fraud scandal from 2013 has subsided. Haslam was never personally accused of wrongdoing, but the company was rocked by what turned out to be a widespread effort to shortchange customers on rebate arrangements.
Buffett’s purchase in no way involves the Browns. Based on Buffett’s track record (and based on the Browns’), some fans may wish that it did.