McLane Co. Acquired

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McLane Co. Acquired

TEMPLE, Texas -- McLane Co. Inc., the largest convenience channel distributor in the United States, said it has been acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Terms of the deal, expected to close in June, were not disclosed.

McLane, a Wal-Mart subsidiary, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company controlled financier Warren Buffett, and will continue to be headquartered in Temple, Texas. The current management team will remain in place and business operations will continue as usual, the company said in a statement.

"McLane Company and our dedicated teammates have thoroughly enjoyed the years spent with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.," said Grady Rosier, president and chief executive of McLane. "We are equally excited about joining Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and the opportunities this change in ownership will create for our future. We see this event as very positive for our customers, supply partners and McLane teammates."

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer said McLane also sold its Merit Distribution Services Inc. trucking business to Swifty Transportation Co. Inc. for about $50 million. Merit provides trucking services to Wal-Mart's grocery distribution centers and other companies. The Bentonville, Ark.-based mass merchandiser, which said it was selling the businesses it acquired in 1990 to focus "completely" on its retail business, expected proceeds of the sales to hit about $1.5 billion. McLane, the most prominent wholesaler in the convenience store business -- and which supplies Wal-Mart's Sam Club warehouse stores -- accounted for $14.9 billion of Wal-Mart's $244.5 billion in sales for fiscal year ending January 2003.

"This transaction is positive for both Wal-Mart and McLane," said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's president and CEO. "McLane is a profitable, well-managed company with thousands of outstanding teammates, and we appreciate the significant contribution they have made to our business for the past 13 years."

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire, said, "Grady Rosier has developed a service oriented organization that supplies tens of thousands of locations in an extraordinarily efficient manner. We believe there is an excellent possibility for expansion of the customer base in the future."