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Haslam family sues Pilot majority owner Berkshire Hathaway over accounting practices

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The Haslam family has filed suit against Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, claiming that the company is using improper accounting practices that are driving down the value of the remaining Haslam stake in Pilot truck stops.

According to a complaint filed on October 23 in a Delaware court, Berkshire Hathaway is using “pushdown” accounting tactics that drive down the value of the Haslam family’s remaining 20% stake in Pilot Travel Centers. The Haslams say that the pushdown accounting will “grossly devalue” their 20% stake.

The lawsuit alleges that the accounting practices violate the terms of the $10 billion acquisition of the nation’s largest truck stop chain.

Reuters reports that the Haslam family has objected repeatedly to the accounting practices but that Berkshire Hathaway refuses to stop.

Berkshire Hathaway took over majority ownership of the Pilot Company as of January 31, 2023, as part of plan announced in 2017 to reduce the Haslam family’s stake in Pilot to 20% by 2023. The 2017 announcement stated that Berkshire Hathaway would acquire an additional 41.4% stake in 2023 to add to the 38.6% stake acquired in 2017 in order to obtain a majority stake in the Pilot company at that time. The agreement would also allow the Haslam family to sell the remaining 20% stake in the company to Berkshire Hathaway on January 1, 2024, if they choose.

Pilot CEO Shameek Konar and CFO Kevin Wills stepped down following the Berkshire Hathaway takeover in early 2023 and were replaced by longtime Berkshire Hathaway executives Adam Wright and Joe Lillo.

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam owned and operated Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J since 1996.

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