J.B. Hunt buys furniture maker Bassett’s trucking subsidiary

February 1, 2022

Land Line Staff


J.B. Hunt is acquiring the transportation subsidiary of furniture manufacturer Bassett Furniture Industries Inc.

J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., a wholly owned operating subsidiary of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Zenith Freight Lines LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bassett. The deal is valued at about $87 million, according to a news release.

Once the transaction is completed, the new owner of Zenith’s assets will enter into a long-term agreement to continue to provide transportation services to Bassett for almost 50 years.

Conover, N.C.-based Zenith posted revenue of $87 million in the fiscal year ending November 2021, with Bassett representing one-third of its business. The transaction expected to close Feb. 28. J.B. Hunt will draw on its existing cash balance to fund the transaction.

Zenith provides specialized less-than-truckload transportation services for furniture manufacturers and retailers in the continental United States. It moves products from manufacturing sites or import locations using employee drivers, late-model equipment, and 1 million square feet of warehouse space.

Zenith founders Jack and Debbie Hawn are expected to transition to roles with J.B. Hunt to ensure a seamless integration with minimal impact on day-to-day service.

“As discussions with J.B. Hunt progressed, we came to understand the benefits that the scale of J.B. Hunt could provide in terms of equipment, technology, driver recruitment, intermodal transportation, and warehousing density,” Basset CEO Robert Spilman said in a news release.

The acquisition will expand J.B. Hunt’s Final Mile Services segment. The segment has 116 locations and over 3.5 million square feet of warehouse and facilities space. It serves the contiguous U.S.

Lowell, Ark.-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. is an S&P 500 company. Its services include intermodal, dedicated, refrigerated, truckload, less-than-truckload, flatbed, single source and final mile. J.B. Hunt stock is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol JBHT. LL

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