A pair of high profile lawsuits involving truck stop chain Pilot and Berkshire Hathaway were settled just before a trial was set to begin.
A trial involving the Pilot Company and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway that was set to begin on Monday, January 8, in Delaware Chancery Court has been canceled after the parties settled out of court.
“Pilot Corporation (the “Company”), on behalf of the Company and the Haslam family, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement to fully settle the Delaware litigation between the Company and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, and National Indemnity Company, including the dismissal of all claims and counterclaims against each other,” said a Pilot spokesperson.
The Haslams filed suit against Berkshire Hathaway on October 23, 2023, accusing the company of using deceptive accounting practices to artificially drive down the value of the Haslam stake in Pilot Travel Centers.
In late November, Berkshire Hathaway countersued, accusing Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family of offering millions of dollars worth of payments to at least fifteen executives at Pilot to encourage them to temporarily inflate the company’s profits in order to increase the value of the Haslam family’s remaining 20% stake.
Berkshire Hathaway took over majority ownership of the Pilot Company as of January 31, 2023, as part of a 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 in January 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.