J.B. Hunt acquires Zenith Freight Lines

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Updated Feb 1, 2022
Zenith truck and trailer
Zenith provides specialized LTL transportation services for furniture manufacturers and retailers in the continental U.S.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (CCJ Top 250, No. 3) is acquiring Conover, North Carolina-based Zenith Freight Lines, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of furniture manufacturer Bassett, for roughly $87 million, the companies announced Monday. 

Post-closing next month, J.B. Hunt will provide transport services for Bassett, and President and CEO John Roberts noted his company's investment in Zenith "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." 

It also expands J.B. Hunt’s Final Mile Services segment, which operates one of the largest nationwide, commingled cross-dock operations, with 116 locations and more than 3.5 million square feet of warehouse and facilities space.

Robert H. Spilman, Jr., Bassett’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, noted that aside from disruption caused by the pandemic, he believes that the consolidation of traditional specialized furniture transportation is inevitable. Indeed, J.B. Hunt's move on Zenith is the second such acquisition in the furniture space in the past month, with Ashley Furniture having acquired the western division assets of Springfield, Missouri-based Wilson Logistics (CCJ Top 250, No. 100). 

Zenith provides specialized LTL transportation services for furniture manufacturers and retailers in the continental U.S., moving products from manufacturing points or import locations via employee drivers, late-model equipment, and approximately one-million square feet of warehouse space to facilitate more than one-quarter of a million moves annually.

Following the acquisition, Zenith founders Jack and Debbie Hawn will transition to roles with 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 February 28, 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.