Buffett's Berkshire builds eclectic conglomerate

GMT 19:03 2015 Monday ,10 August

Arab Today, arab today Buffett's Berkshire builds eclectic conglomerate

Warren Buffett
New York - AFP

With the $37.2 billion deal to buy Precision Castparts announced Monday, US investment guru Warren Buffett is extending his storied Berkshire Hathaway holding company.

Here are some of the major acquisitions engineered by Buffett, 84, the world's third richest person with net worth of $72.7 billion, according to Forbes.

Duracell batteries

Announced in November 2014, Berkshire said it was buying the Duracell battery business from US consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble in a deal valued at $4.7 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

"I have always been impressed by Duracell, as a consumer and as a long-term investor in P&G and Gillette," Buffett said at the time.

Auto dealership Van Tuyl

The fifth-largest US auto dealership group, Van Tuyl fell into the Berkshire fold for $4.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015, in a deal announced in October 2014.

"The Van Tuyl Group enjoys excellent relations with the major auto manufacturers," Buffett said.

Public utility NV Energy

In May 2013, Berkshire announced a $10 billion cash-and-debt deal to acquire NV Energy, a supplier of electricity and gas in the western state of Nevada.

The Las Vegas-based NV Energy closed the transaction with Berkshire subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Holding Company in December that year.

Ketchup king Heinz

To gain control of H.J. Heinz, whose Heinz brand ketchup is an icon of American culture, Buffett's holding company joined forces with Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, the owner of fast-food chain Burger King.

The transaction was valued at $28 billion, with $12 billion coming from Buffett, known as the "Sage of Omaha" for his investment savvy. Omaha, the largest city in the Midwestern state of Nebraska, is Buffett's birthplace and home and where his holding company is based.

That transaction closed in July 2015, leaving Berkshire with about a 27 percent stake in Heinz Holding, renamed The Kraft Heinz Company after its merger with Kraft Foods.

Chemical company Lubrizol

In March 2011, Buffett put $9.7 billion in cash on the table to buy Lubrizol, a specialty chemical company that notably makes lubricant additives for engine oils and additives for personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

"Lubrizol is exactly the sort of company with which we love to partner -- the global leader in several market applications," Buffett said. The transaction was completed in September that year.

Railroad operator Burlington Northern

Before the Precision Castparts deal, Buffett's largest acquisition was rail operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The deal, announced in November 2009, was valued at about $36.5 billion, including debt. Berkshire, which owned about 23 percent of the firm's shares, bought the rest in the transaction that closed in February 2010.

"Our country's future prosperity depends on its having an efficient and well-maintained rail system," Buffett said at the time.

"Most important of all, however, it's an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States," he said. "I love these bets."


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