Berkshire-backed pilot seeks $ 3.5 billion loan to repay Haslam

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(Bloomberg) – The Haslam family, one of the wealthiest in the US, is taking advantage of the fast-growing leveraged loan market to help cash out its assets for Pilot Travel Centers LLC, owner of the Pilot Flying J.

Pilot Travel Centers is borrowing $ 3.5 billion to buy back $ 2.3 billion of preferred shares held by the Haslam and Call families and to refinance debt. Families began selling the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. business. Warren Buffett in 2017, with the conglomerate planning to increase its stake to 80% by 2023.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the Haslam family of Knoxville, Tennessee is among the richest families in the United States with net worth of over $ 12 billion. Their fortune dates back to 1958, when James Haslam II paid $ 6,000 for a gas station in Virginia. In 2009, Pilot acquired Flying J, a company founded by Jay Call.

Haslam’s 67-year-old son Jimmy was the company’s CEO until January and also owns the Cleveland Browns football team. The family will retain 20% of the business after 2023.

Wells Fargo & Co., the leading selling loan, and Pilot declined to comment. Berkshire Hathaway did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lender’s demand for a $ 3.5 billion loan is scheduled for Monday at 1:00 pm New York time with a commitment to repay on July 29th. The refinanced debt includes a revolving line of credit and part of another term loan maturing in 2024.

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