Nov. 1, 2013, 5:11 PM
Oct. 29, 2013, 3:09 PM
- Houston's Prudential Anderson Properties - with 17 offices in Houston, Austin, and Lubbock - plants its flag under Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) HomeServices umbrella.
- Making a big bet on the U.S. housing market, HomeServices has been an aggressive buyer of Prudential (and other) realtor franchises over the past year.
- Press release.
Oct. 24, 2013, 10:37 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) HomeServices unit lands its first Midwestern affiliate with the addition of Prudential KC Realty.
- Renamed Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kansas City Realty, the team comprises more than 60 agents.
- Buffett is a well-known housing bull and HomeServices has been particularly aggressive of late in acquiring realtor franchises.
- Press release.
Oct. 22, 2013, 7:19 AM
- An owner of the U.K. retailing giant since 2006, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) cut its stake by £300M on October 16. Berkshire's now owns 3.98% of the company vs. 4.98% previously.
- A fast grower during the years before Buffett bought in, Tesco has suffered from eroding market share at home, failed attempts to break into the U.S. and Japan, and a costly, still unprofitable expansion into China.
- A near-two-year $1B turnaround plan in the U.K. has shown signs of bearing some fruit.
- Tesco (TSCDF, TSCDY) is unchanged in London trade.
Oct. 20, 2013, 8:56 PM
- It's no surprise fixed income is a hated asset class, but how much so? Just 4% of respondent's in Barron's Big Money poll of money managers are bullish on the sector, with 85% bearish. By contrast, 79% have a positive view of equities vs. 7% negative.
- Not surprising given negative feelings about the bond market, the utility sector garners the most votes (32%) for being the worst expected performer over the next year. Taking first place for the sector expected to perform best is - what else - tech.
- WIth 91% of managers in agreement, Sears (SHLD) tops the list of most-hated stocks. Next at 87% is Tesla (TSLA). After that with 80% Is Herbalife (HLF), followed closely by ZIllow (Z) and Netflix (NFLX).
- Apple (AAPL) and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) top the list of most-loved stocks with 70%, followed by Citibank (C) at 60%.
- Broad fixed-income ETFs: AGG, BND, LAG, SCHZ, BOND, SAGG, MINC.
- Broad equity exposure ETFs: IYY, VTI, EXT, TOTS, EUSA, ITOT.
- Utility ETFs: IDU, PUI, XLU, VPU, RYU, FXU, PSCU, UPW, SDP, UTLT.
Oct. 16, 2013, 5:18 PM
Oct. 16, 2013, 7:43 AM
- Appearing on Squawk Box, The Oracle doesn't disappoint:
- On JPMorgan (JPM): "If a cop follows you for 500 miles, you're going to get a ticket."
- On possible U.S. default: "Idiocy ... this is like poison gas."
- On Apple (AAPL): He wishes he bought it years ago and chides Carl Icahn, saying companies shouldn't be run primarily to please Wall Street.
- Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) has about $40B of cash on hand at the moment, and Buffett's a buyer despite the D.C. standoff.
Oct. 16, 2013, 3:58 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) Marmon Group has agreed to acquire beverage dispense and merchandising businesses for £690M ($1.1B) from British engineering group IMI.
- Marmon is buying the beverage operations, which make valves for drink dispensers, even though it has been struggling as major customers delay capital investment. The merchandising unit makes marketing displays.
- The deal is expected to be completed early next year. (PR)
Oct. 14, 2013, 8:38 AM
- Typically, Warren Buffett prefers to let Berkshire's (BRK.A. BRK.B) companies choose their own successor CEOs, but the old ways aren't working as well. Behind this is the ever-expanding number of Berkshire subsidiaries and the aging of their CEOs. "Occasionally, you’re going to find subsidiaries that just don’t have a second-in-command," says Buffett fan Robert Miles.
- Most recently, the Benjamin Moore paint unit named its 3rd CEO in two years, this time bringing in an executive who worked before with Buffett deputy Ted Weschler.
- Berkshire investors needn't worry, says investor James Armstrong. Turnover may be heavier at the smaller units, but these aren't moving the Berkshire profit needle. Most profit comes from the larger more stable businesses like Burlington Northern, Santa Fe, and Geico.
Oct. 10, 2013, 4:02 PM
- Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) MiTek Industries unit has acquired Kova Solutions, a provider of software that allows residential production builders and manufactured housing firms to monitor/manage their operations. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- MiTek already provides software for residential component manufacturers, to go with structural connectors, machinery, and engineering services. In July, the company bought Benson Industries, a maker of curtain wall systems for commercial high-rises.
Oct. 7, 2013, 2:04 AM
- Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) has so far made $10B from the $26B of funding it provided to six companies during the financial crisis, the WSJ calculates.
- Using its huge war chest to act as a lender of last resort, as well as the confidence that Buffett's reputation inspires, Berkshire was able to move quickly and obtain lucrative terms.
- Buffett's return so far is almost 40%, well above the government's 12% proceeds from TARP.
- The companies that Berkshire invested in were Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Swiss Re, Dow Chemical, General Electric and Mars.
- "In terms of simple profitability, an average investor could have done just as well investing in the stock market if they bought during the panic period," Buffett says.
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:03 AM
- Candy-making giant Mars confirms it repurchased from Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) $4.4B in bonds it sold to the House of Buffett in 2008 to help finance its mammoth purchase of Wrigley. Berkshire reportedly sold the paper back at 115.45% of face value, giving it a profit of about $680M (not including the interest it's received).
- Berkshire retains a $2.1B preferred stock stake in Wrigley.
- Add the Mars deal to Goldman, BofA, GE and other profitable maneuvers the cash-rich Berkshire and its opportunistic chief were able to pull off amid the financial crisis.
Sep. 30, 2013, 3:16 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) is set to receive over $2B in Goldman Sachs (GS) shares via warrants that the holding company obtained at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, when its investment helped save GS from collapse.
- Warren Buffett's firm invested $5B for a preferred holding - which GS redeemed in 2011 - and received warrants to acquire $5B in stock for $115 a share.
- In March, Berkshire agreed to exercise the warrants through a cashless transaction in which it will receive an amount of stock equivalent to its paper profit.
- GS shares closed at $159.85 on Friday.
Sep. 20, 2013, 3:19 PM
- "We have a track record. We're there in good times and bad," says Bob Benmosche on Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A, BRK.B) push into AIG's commercial insurance turf. Corporate buyers appreciate AIG's decade-long history in the business, says Benmosche. It's not something the house of Buffett can match.
- Berkshire has hired nearly 20 top people from AIG this year, and Warren Buffett has big plans for the unit, expecting the business to reach "into the billions." Last week, the WSJ reported on a tenuous truce between the companies as Berkshire agreed not hire any more from AIG for a little while, and AIG has backed off plans to sue.
- Earlier: Benmosche on the NY regulator.
Sep. 20, 2013, 9:33 AM
- "Basically we love the position of being an owner," says Buffett of the 10-year warrants Berkshire (BRK.A, BRK.B) received when it purchased a $5B preferred stake in Bank of America (BAC) in 2011. The warrants are struck at $7.14 each and allow the purchase of 700M shares of BofA common up to the year 2021 (last night's close was $14.61; bravo, Mr. Buffett).
- Buffett expects to hold the warrants until near-expiration and then convert them to common stock, though that calculation could change were the bank to institute a significant dividend.
- On redeeming Buffett's preferred stake, BofA CEO Moynihan says the bank has more expensive capital to retire first. "There will be some day that we’ll talk about this, but that’s far out there."
Sep. 20, 2013, 7:47 AM
- "We're having a hard time finding things to buy," says Warren Buffett (BRK.A, BRK.B), who feels the stock market is essentially fairly priced at the moment. Appearing with Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan, Buffett stumps for his choice for next Fed chief: Ben Bernanke. "He's done a terrific job."
- Buffett does allow that higher interest rates have inflated stock prices and warns about a QE exit - "Buying securities is usually easier than selling securities."
- Moynihan doesn't rock his large investor's boat: "You have an economy ... growing at 1.5-2% ... until unemployment is down, (Bernanke) has to keep this economy going in the right direction."
BRK.A vs. ETF Alternatives
Berkshire Hathaway Inc is a conglomerate holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of business activities, including property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, utilities and energy, finance, manufacturing, service and retailing.
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