Bassett Furniture Industries Inc.
Jbht Zenith

J.B. Hunt inks $87M final-mile deal

Feb. 1, 2022
The planned acquisition of a furniture retailer’s subsidiary will deliver more than 250,000 moves per year.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. executives have agreed to pay $87 million for the trucking subsidiary of publicly traded Bassett Furniture Industries Inc.

The cash acquisition of Zenith Freight Lines LLC, which is expected to close by the end of February, will add to J.B. Hunt’s final-mile business, a venture that generated $87 million in revenue in the 12 months ended Nov. 31, a third of which came internally from Bassett. Founded 50 years ago by Jack and Debbie Hawn—who both will take on senior roles at J.B. Hunt—North Carolina-based Zenith controls about 1 million square feet and handles more than 250,000 moves annually.

“This investment enhances J.B. Hunt’s furniture delivery capabilities by expanding our nationwide, end-to-end supply chain solution for our customers,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt. “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.”

See also: M&A experts forecast record deal volume in 2022
Zenith will become part of J.B. Hunt’s final-mile division, which runs 116 locations with more than 3.5 million square feet of space around the country and which last year produced an operating profit of $27.9 million on sales of $842 million.

Bassett Chairman and CEO Robert Spilman Jr. said his team believes “the consolidation of traditional specialized furniture transportation is inevitable”—Werner Enterprises Inc. executives last month inked a $64 million for a Connecticut furniture and appliance delivery specialist—and that Bassett is looking to have J.B. Hunt play a key role in the company’s broader logistics growth strategy.

Shares of J.B. Hunt (Ticker: JBHT) rose slightly Jan. 31 to close at roughly $192.50. They have risen about 15% over the past six months and are now worth a combined $20 billion.

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