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J.B. Hunt acquires furniture hauler from Bassett in $87M deal

Latest final-mile acquisition pushes division closer to $1B in revenue

J.B. Hunt acquires Zenith Freight Lines (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

J.B. Hunt Transport announced Monday it entered an agreement to acquire furniture hauler Zenith Freight Lines for $87 million. The deal is expected to bolster J.B. Hunt’s final-mile and furniture delivery network.

Conover, North Carolina-based Zenith is a wholly owned subsidiary of furniture maker Bassett Furniture Industries (NASDAQ: BSET). It primarily serves the furniture industry providing specialized less-than-truckload transportation and warehousing services throughout the continental United States. Its company drivers move more than 250,000 loads annually utilizing 1 million square feet of warehouse space.

The carrier recorded $87 million in annual revenue for the 12-month period ended in November. Bassett accounts for one-third of Zenith’s total revenue.

Once the deal has closed, J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) and Bassett will enter a long-term agreement wherein Zenith will continue to haul for the furniture company.

“This investment 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,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B. Hunt.

The deal expands J.B. Hunt’s final-mile unit, which covers 100% of the continental United States. The unit is one of the largest in the nation, operating out of 116 locations with 3.5 million square feet of space. The segment generated $842 million in revenue last year.

Acquisition price$87 million
Zenith’s revenue run rate$87 million
J.B. Hunt’s revenue run rate$12 billion
Recent acquisitions by J.B. HuntMass Movement, RDI Last Mile and Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery
Table: company reports

J.B. Hunt has grown its final-mile offering through a number of acquisitions. It acquired fitness delivery and installation company Mass Movement in 2020. It added furniture and appliance delivery provider RDI Last Mile and Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery in 2019 after acquiring Special Logistics Dedicated in 2017.

“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, COO, EVP and president of Contract Services at J.B. Hunt. “We are excited to welcome the employees and customers of Zenith to J.B. Hunt.”

The deal will be funded with cash and is expected to close by the end of February. Zenith’s founders, Jack and Debbie Hawn, will join J.B. Hunt “to ensure a seamless integration with minimal impact on day-to-day service.”

“The sale of Zenith to J.B. Hunt represents the culmination of our life’s work in the furniture transportation industry,” said Jack Hawn, president of Zenith. “Becoming a part of J.B. Hunt will advance the quality service we have established by providing scalable, efficient solutions to the furniture industry.”

Robert Spilman Jr., chairman and CEO at Bassett, said, “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.” 

The FREIGHTWAVES TOP 500 For-Hire Carriers list includes J.B. Hunt (No. 4) and Zenith Freight Lines (No. 388).

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

Watch: Carrier Update – January 31 2022

F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.