CVC Tells Investors IT Plans to Sell Pilot Travel Holding

CVC Capital Partners Ltd. told investors it plans to sell its remaining stake in Pilot Travel Centers LLC to the U.S. gas station operator’s majority owner.

CVC, Europe’s largest leveraged-buyout firm, may sell its remaining 20 percent stake in Pilot in two stages in January 2015 and June 2017 to the Haslam family’s Pilot Corp. (7846), according to a filing to investors seen by Bloomberg News. Jimmy Haslam, who as well as owning the Cleveland Browns is Pilot Travel’s chief executive officer, didn’t immediately return a telephone call to his office seeking comment.

The private-equity firm expects the stakes will be valued at about seven times Pilot Travel’s average earnings over the previous two years, said two people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Based on the gas stations’ current performance, the value of CVC’s holding would be more than $2 billion, one of the people said.

CVC bought a stake in Knoxville, Tennessee-based Pilot Travel in 2008 after Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) sold its stake for about $700 million, said the person. The London-based buyout firm then sold about half its shareholding to Pilot Corp. for about $1 billion in March 2011, said the person. Pilot Corp. owns about 80 percent of Pilot Travel today and would be the sole owner of the gas station operator following the sale.

Anne Lezotte, a spokeswoman for Pilot Travel, said in an e-mailed statement that there are continual discussions with CVC on its ownership, “but nothing defined.” A spokesman for CVC in London declined to comment.

Pilot Travel is the largest owner of travel centers in North America, with more than 460 gas stations serving an average 950,000 customers a day, according to CVC’s website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kiel Porter in London at kporter17@bloomberg.net; Sabrina Willmer in New York at swillmer2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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