I’ve always wanted to own a piece of Warren Buffett’s magic, but at $111,111/share, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) has been way too spendy for me. I’ve had to be content to watch from the sidelines. Smart investors bought 10 shares when it was outrageously priced at $10,000/share (circa 1992).
B-shares (NYSE:BRK.B) were created for the common man, but even they were quite expensive at more than $3,000/share. On January 21, 2010, BRK.B split 50:1, bringing the share price down to a very reasonable $60-70. Now, Buffett can be bought by the unwashed masses.
I’ve been reading that BRK.B has “done well” since the split, and I initially interpreted this as the B shares were faring better than the A shares. Since the B shares have opened up a new market (small time investors) and the A shares are unchanged, it would make sense that the B shares would see new activity and might get a bump in value. But surely there’s a mechanism for institutional investors to arbitrage class B shares against the A shares. And indeed, as the Google finance graph below shows, the B shares have done exactly the same as the A shares. Both BRK.A and BRK.B both have done a bit better than the market average (S&P 500), but B is not better than A — only cheaper … uh… more affordable.
Full disclosure: No position in BRK.A or BRK.B
Disclosure: No positions.