JB Hunt to buy Zenith Freight Lines for $87 Million
J.B. Hunt Transport announced it entered an agreement to acquire furniture hauler Zenith Freight Lines for $87 million. The deal is expected to bolster J.B. Hunt’s final-mile and furniture delivery network.
Conover, N.C.-based Zenith is a wholly owned subsidiary of furniture maker Bassett Furniture Industries. It primarily serves the furniture industry providing specialized less-than-truckload transportation and warehousing services throughout the continental United States. Its company drivers move more than 250,000 loads annually utilizing 1 million square feet of warehouse space.
The carrier recorded $87 million in annual revenue for the 12-month period ended in November. Bassett accounts for one-third of Zenith’s total revenue.
Once the deal has closed, J.B. Hunt and Bassett will enter a long-term agreement wherein Zenith will continue to haul for the furniture company.
“This investment enhances J.B. Hunt’s furniture delivery capabilities by expanding our nationwide, end-to-end supply chain solution for our customers, and we look forward to establishing a long-term connection with Bassett, a manufacturer and retailer of high-quality home furnishings and a leader in the industry,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt.
The deal expands J.B. Hunt’s final-mile unit, which covers 100% of the continental United States. The unit is one of the largest in the nation, operating out of 116 locations with 3.5 million square feet of space. The segment generated $842 million in revenue last year.
J.B. Hunt has grown its final-mile offering through a number of acquisitions. It acquired fitness delivery and installation company Mass Movement in 2020. It added furniture and appliance delivery provider RDI Last Mile and Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery in 2019 after acquiring Special Logistics Dedicated in 2017.
“Zenith’s reputation in the furniture industry and its focus on quality customer service extends our model to be the best final-mile provider in North America,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer for Contract Services at J.B. Hunt. “We are excited to welcome the employees and customers of Zenith to J.B. Hunt.”
The deal will be funded with cash and is expected to close by the end of February. Zenith’s founders, Jack and Debbie Hawn, will join J.B. Hunt “to ensure a seamless integration with minimal impact on day-to-day service.”
“The sale of Zenith to J.B. Hunt represents the culmination of our life’s work in the furniture transportation industry,” said Jack Hawn, president of Zenith. “Becoming a part of J.B. Hunt will advance the quality service we have established by providing scalable, efficient solutions to the furniture industry.”
Robert Spilman Jr., chairman and chief executive at Bassett, said, “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.”