Pilot, Flying J to Merge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. and OGDEN, Utah -- Truck stop operators Pilot Travel Centers and Flying J agreed to merge the two companies’ travel centers into a single operation.

The preliminary merger agreement will provide a framework for Flying J’s core travel plaza business to emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and under the terms of an agreement filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the transaction would allow all Flying J creditor obligations to be paid in full, the companies stated.

In addition, Pilot agreed to provide $100 million in debtor-in-possession financing for Flying J’s operations, subject to court approval.

"After a careful and exhaustive review of the alternatives available, we have concluded that a merger with Pilot represents the best possible outcome for Flying J, our creditors, our customers and our employees," Crystal Call Maggelet, chairman of the board for Flying J, said in a statement. "Over the next few months, we will negotiate definitive agreements to merge our companies. This transaction will allow us to emerge from the bankruptcy process relatively quickly thereafter and to start a new chapter in the Flying J story."

The agreement pertains to Flying J’s core travel plaza business, and excludes the company's Longhorn Pipeline, Big West Oil, Flying J Oil & Gas, Haycock Petroleum and Transportation Alliance Bank subsidiaries. For those businesses, Flying J is pursuing or evaluating alternatives, the companies stated.

"We believe that by combining Flying J and Pilot we will better serve our customers by more efficiently providing them with the products and services they need," Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot, said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with Flying J and its employees during the chapter 11 emergence process, and as we take the next steps of a new beginning for both of our companies."

During its time in bankruptcy, Flying J shuttered some restaurant locations within its travel stops, but has voiced commitments to keep its locations operational.

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