NEW YORK (July 21, 2000) — Oak Hill Capital Partners L.P., a private equity investment group, signed a definitive agreement June 1 to acquire TravelCenters of America Inc. (TA), the largest owner and operator of full-service travel centers in the U.S.
The buyout of Westlake, Ohio-based TA, for approximately $731 million, is expected to close in the third quarter, pending customary regulatory approvals. TA, with 160 outlets and 13,500 employees across the country, is presently owned by a group of institutional investors led by The Clipper Group, as well as TA management and truck manufacturer Freightliner Corp.
Both the management team and Freightliner will continue to hold a significant equity position in TA, which also is one of the nation´s largest truck tire distribution networks. The company sells an estimated 250,000 truck tires annually — worth at least $65 million to $75 million — and is considered one of the nation´s largest distributors of Bridgestone- and Firestone-brand truck tires.
Steven B. Gruber, an Oak Hill Capital managing partner, said the new owner plans to work with TA management to continue the company´s long-term growth strategy. "TA is at the forefront of its industry, offering an extensive array of non-fuel products and services for the large trucking fleets and their drivers," he said. "Through its consolidation activities over the last five years, TA has developed the leading network of travel centers in the country."
TA President and CEO Ed Kuhn said that, with Oak Hill´s commitment to TA, "we are confident that our expansion and market-positioning activities will continue to benefit all of our stakeholders.
"We have crafted a long-term strategy for sustained growth and profitability that requires a high level of investment as well as a shared vision of TA´s future by our equity partners."
As TA "dramatically" adds travel centers to its existing nationwide network over the next five years, Mr. Kuhn said, the company will "continue to invest in technology and our employees" and will be "firmly positioned to better serve all highway travelers."
Freightliner, which has a strategic operating relationship with TA, plans to continue its investment in the partnership, said Jim Hebe, Freightliner president and CEO.
TA supplies diesel fuel to each of the 25 largest trucking fleets in the nation. Its truckstops typically include diesel fuel and gasoline operations, parking for trucks and cars, a full-service restaurant, fast-food court, convenience store, showers and restrooms, and a multi-bay truck maintenance and repair shop — with complete tire services.
Last year, the company had total revenues of $1.5 billion.