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Introducing Uncle Warren’s Roadside Paradise

The Oracle of Omaha bought himself an early 93rd birthday present.
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By An Errant Knight (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By An Errant Knight (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know about you, but I for one thrill at the sight of a Flying J rest area alongside one of this country’s highways. My favorite is the one on Interstate 81 in New Milford, Pa., but I have enjoyed their hospitality from Concord, N.H., to Evanston, Wyo., and several places in between. These truck stops are so great, you’d never guess that the same family is also running the significantly less-great Cleveland Browns.

Warren Buffett apparently thinks so, too. Why, there’s a Flying J just down the road from Berkshire Hathaway headquarters, in Gretna, Neb. I suspect that the Oracle’s less interest in the 10 premium parking spaces or the soup and breakfast bar or the showers or the game room than he is in the $20 billion in annual revenue generated by the 750-plus rest areas dotting the continental U.S. and Canada. It’s exactly the kind of steady-earning, economically-necessary investment Warren Buffett likes, and it’s almost as big as that Texas energy company Paul Singer took away from him. Plus, he’s got some money to spend. So shortly after his 93rd birthday, it will be his. And he expects it to be doing just as well then and into his second century, especially after he adds Dairy Queens, See’s Candies and Helzberg Diamond locations to each and every one of them.

Berkshire Hathaway agreed to acquire 38.6 percent of Pilot Flying J, a closely held company based in Knoxville, Tennessee, according to a statement Tuesday…. The Maggelet family’s FJ Management Inc. will keep its 11.3 percent stake in Pilot Flying J until 2023, when Buffett plans to become the company’s biggest shareholder. Buffett will boost his stake to 80 percent at that point, leaving the Haslams with a fifth of the business….

“Trucks are going to be around for a very long time. Who knows when driverless trucks are going to come along and what level of penetration they have,” Buffett said in an interview. “There is nothing that we own that doesn’t have something in the future that might affect it.”

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Buys Stake in Pilot Flying J [Bloomberg]


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