J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. is buying Zenith Freight Lines LLC from furniture company Bassett. The approximately $87 million deal includes a long-term master services agreement where J.B. Hunt will continue to provide the service Zenith has performed for Bassett for almost 50 years.
Based in Conover, North Carolina, Zenith provides specialized less-than-truckload services for furniture manufacturers and retailers in the continental United States.
The acquisition will expand J.B. Hunt’s Final Mile Services segment and enhance the company's furniture-delivery capabilities.
“Disruption caused by the pandemic aside, we believe that the consolidation of traditional specialized furniture transportation is inevitable,” said Robert Spilman Jr., Bassett CEO and chairman, in an announcement. “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.”
Following the acquisition, Zenith’s founders will transition to key roles with J.B. Hunt.
“Zenith’s reputation in the furniture industry and their focus on quality customer service extends our model to be the best final mile provider in North America,” said Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer, executive vice president and president of contract services at J.B. Hunt.
Zenith posted revenue of $87 million in the fiscal year ending November 2021, with Bassett representing one-third of its business. The transaction will be funded using J.B. Hunt’s existing cash balance and is expected to close by Feb. 28, 2022.