The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday gave final approval to Flying J to merge its travel plaza business with Pilot Travel Centers, Truckinginfo.com reported.
The merger, effective July 1, is expected to help Flying J emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and create an entity of more than 550 interstate travel centers and travel plazas in 43 states and six Canadian provinces.
As part of the merger terms and to relieve FTC concerns about anti-competitive effects, Pilot Flying J is selling 26 locations to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, 20 of which are Pilot Travel Centers.
After Flying J filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008, a bankruptcy court approved Flying J’s request to merge with Pilot Travel Centers last year. But first, Flying J had to dismiss antitrust litigation against Pilot, while Pilot agreed to accept Flying J’s TCH cards at locations owned, leased or managed by Pilot, excluding its convenience stores.
“The merger is a historic moment in our industry,” Crystal Call Maggelet, chairman of Flying J was quoted as saying. “It will be exciting to see our more than 550 locations come together, providing a complete North American network of travel centers. Our customers will benefit through new and expanded services.”
The Pilot and Flying J brands are both expected to remain on signage at the facilities. Denny’s, Subway and Pizza Hut brands are set to be added to Flying J locations. Also in the works are upgrades to drivers’ lounges, new gasoline and diesel pumps, enhanced showers and remodeled restrooms at many locations, Truckinginfo.com reported.