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Private Equity Firm Plans to Sell Its $2B Stake in Pilot

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- CVC Capital Partners Ltd. alerted investors that it plans to sell its stake in Pilot Travel Centers LLC -- reported to be valued at $2 billion -- to the travel center operator's majority owner.

According to Bloomberg, CVC could sell its 20-percent ownership stake in two stages, in January 2015 and January 2017, to the Haslam family, which owns Pilot Corp., the majority owner of the business.

Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Travel Centers, which operates 650 Pilot Flying J locations throughout the United States and Canada, did not immediately return a phone call from the news source seeking comment. However, Anne Lezotte, a spokesperson for Pilot Travel Centers, said the company is having continual discussions with CVC regarding its ownership stake, "but nothing [is] defined."

London-based CVC is Europe's largest leverage buyout firm. It first bought a stake in Pilot Travel Centers in 2008, when Marathon Oil Corp. sold its stake for $700 million.

It is uncertain if the April 15 raid of Pilot Flying J's Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters and subsequent lawsuits alleging fuel rebate fraud was the deciding factor that led CVC to consider selling its 20-percent stake in Pilot Travel Centers.

On Nov. 25, U.S. District Judge James Moody granted final approval to the class-action settlement between Pilot Flying J and trucking companies suing the retailer regarding fuel rebate discrepancies. This settlement is expected to cost Pilot Travel Centers $72 million, when factoring in all costs.

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