By ERIK SCHELZIG and ADRIAN SAINZ Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. April 18, 2013 (AP)
When Pilot, the country’s largest truck stop chain, bought its nearest competitor Flying J out of bankruptcy in 2009, federal trade officials worried the combined entity owned by the powerful Haslam family could corner the market on diesel fuel.
To alleviate “competitive concerns,” the Federal Trade Commission in 2010 required Pilot to sell some truck stops to a competitor, Love’s, and share its fuel purchase technology before it could merge.
A federal raid this week at Pilot Flying J’s headquarters in Knoxville signaled fresh scrutiny of competition issues involving the nation’s top retail seller of diesel fuel.
CEO Jimmy Haslam said the raid was part of a criminal probe into unpaid rebates owed to trucking companies. Haslam, who also owns the Cleveland Browns, denied any wrongdoing and said the company was not in any tax trouble. His brother is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Rebates are used to boost customer loyalty and discourage them from buying the same product from the competition, but experts say overly aggressive practices can lead to trouble.
April 18, 2013 (AP) – Continue reading