Flying J to merge with Pilot

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah-based Flying J, which is looking to emerge from bankruptcy, hopes to join forces with a truck stop company based in Tennessee. The preliminary merger agreement with Pilot was announced Tuesday.

Only Flying J's truck stop operations are part of the merger, which includes more than 270 truck stops in 41 states. Pilot currently operates more than 300 similar operations in 40 states. Both are among the largest privately-held companies in the nation.

Flying J released this statement Tuesday: "After a careful and exhaustive review of the alternatives available, we have concluded that a merger with Pilot represents the best possible outcome for Flying J, our creditors, our customers and our employees."

Flying J filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 22, 2008, due to a large amount of debt and a drastic drop in oil prices.

The merger would seemingly free up cash that could be used to help Flying J in its effort to reorganize certain aspects of its company.

Story compiled with contributions from Whit Johnson and Richard Piatt.

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