Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American holding company whose activities extend over a wide range of business activities, including in particular insurance and reinsurance, as well as next to rail freight transport, energy, financial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail. Chairman (Chairman ) is the U.S. major investor and billionaire Warren Buffett. The company has its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska and has been listed under the ticker symbol BRK on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company employs in its holdings ( 31 December 2012) 288 462 people and generated 2012 with total assets of 427.45 billion U.S. dollars and 162.46 billion U.S. dollars annual turnover net profit of $ 15.31 billion. Berkshire is among the 20 largest companies in the United States. Consistently high profitability and the large financial reserves stood Berkshire one of the world's leading reinsurance companies, and for a long time one of the few companies with the highest credit rating.

The company dates back to a textile manufacturer from Massachusetts, and is closely connected with the person Buffett. This had acquired in the 1960s, over one-third of the shares as an investment. Given the poor results of the company, he decided - now as chairman - the remaining profits in the acquisition of other companies redirect. The profits and cash reserves of these companies have since been reinserted in the acquisition of larger blocks of shares and other companies over their competitors have significant competitive advantages and thus long-term promise particularly high return. Company profit and share price grew since then on average by almost 20 % annually, more than twice as strong as the benchmark index S & P 500

In contrast to the practices of many hedge funds or private equity firm Berkshire grabs in general not in the business operations of each subsidiary and acquires companies even through issuance of new debt or new issue of share certificates. The company has apparently already been developed in this context, a reputation as a "friendly " investor.

The A share of Berkshire Hathaway has never split and is at a price of (30 October 2013) 176,190.00 U.S. dollars, the most expensive stock in the world.


Berkshire Hathaway has emerged in 1955 from the merger of two textile company Berkshire Fine Spinning and Manufacturing Hathaway. From the beginning the company had to fight from Massachusetts with low cost competition from the southern United States and the rise of cheap imports from the Far East.

1965 took over the investor Warren Buffett for his investment pool founded in 1956 the majority of the shares and became the chairman of the company. Before long, he realized that the textile business of the company has no future (later he described the acquisition as an error ). Therefore, he began to divert the remaining capital by investing in textile foreign investments. He earned 1967 Insurance ( National Indemnity - Buffett should this insurance retrospect 1983 denote as the main force in the growth of Berkshire Hathaway ) and 1969 a bank (Illinois National).

Gradually, the textile activities have been set, the last factory closed in 1985. 1982 Berkshire Hathaway was merged with the investment and trading stamp company Blue Chip stamps; Buffett's friend and former president of Blue Chip Stamps, Charles Munger, was elected vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired in recent decades companies, either completely (Nebraska Furniture Mart, Scott Fetzer - Shaw Industries) or major holdings ( Coca -Cola, Gillette, The Washington Post).

Some segments are the furniture store (RC Wiley, and others), shoes ( HH Brown et al ), apparel ( Fruit of the Loom, and others), jet- sharing ( NetJets ), jewelers ( Borsheims and Others ), newspapers ( The Buffalo News, and others), news dissemination ( Business Wire ) food Wholesalers ( McLane ) and confectionery ( See's Candies ).

However, the focus of its activities is a long time ( back in 1978 called Buffett this business as the biggest money-maker ) in the initial ( GEICO ) and reinsurance (General Re). In addition, Berkshire Hathaway is headed by Ajit Jain own company, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, the world's leading companies that insured through so-called " Super Cats" insurers and reinsurers against mega- disasters. In 2003, the insurance sector generated 64 % of pre-tax profits. Buffett estimates to insurance companies the high discretionary "float" ( premiums that are already taken, but must be used later for claims ), which can be used for investment, a property that him in his career to invest in early on the trading stamp company Blue chip stamps moved ( Buffett called Blue Chip once as non-regulated insurance).

The company has since 1967 paid no dividends; the stock has never split, making it the most expensive piece share the world. As a concession to Altan Leger, however, a new class of shares ( "Baby Berkshires ") was introduced in 1996. A- shares can be exchanged since (eg, for a gift or as an inheritance ) 1500 B- shares. A reverse exchange is not possible, indicate the B shares have a 1 /10, 000 vote.


Today, Berkshire Hathaway, one of the 20 largest in the United States and one of the largest taxpayers companies. In the 73 fully controlled companies over 257,000 people were employed as at 27 February 2010.

Warren Buffett, who is with assets of approximately $ 47 billion of third-richest man in the world, based at Berkshire Hathaway an annual salary of $ 100,000. The holding company has next to Warren Buffett and even the long-time Vice President Charles Munger, only 22 other employees, as Berkshire Hathaway 's business at the acquired companies consistently leaves the corporate executives and only has the use of the profits earned.

There's something about 1.5 million shares outstanding. The largest single shareholder with approximately 31% of Warren Buffett. Thus, the market capitalization of nearly 150.9 billion U.S. $ at a market price of approximately $ 100,600 (December 2, 2009). The book value per share stood at 31 December 2006 at U.S. $ 70 281, but the intrinsic value is, according to Buffett about it.

The annual general meeting of the company is now known as the "Woodstock " for capitalists. 2006 was attended by approximately 24,000 shareholders. In 2008 there were about 31,000 and 35,000 in 2013.

In early 2006, took over Berkshire Hathaway, Business Wire, the global leader in the distribution of corporate announcements and filings. In March and April, the purchases of the utility PacifiCorp ( through its subsidiary MidAmericanEnergy ) for U.S. $ 5.1 billion, and sporting goods company Russell followed (600 million U.S. $). In May 2006, Berkshire Hathaway acquired for U.S. $ 4 billion, 80 % of the Israeli metal tool manufacturer Iscar and the corresponding IMC Group (International Metalworking Companies ). With the purchase of 7.8 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway began in the first quarter of 2006 with the establishment of an investment in General Electric. It is also planned for the coming months a takeover of the order of U.S. $ 15 billion. The cash position is to be reduced by approximately 75 %.

End of 2006, Berkshire Hathaway had cash and cash equivalents in excess of 40 billion U.S. $, the lack of attractively valued investment objectives could not be invested according to Buffett.

In April 2007, Berkshire Hathaway had, according to U.S. media reports $ 3.2 billion paid ( 2.4 billion euros ) for a stake of more than ten percent of the BNSF Railway Corporation. The Buffett company had 39 million shares acquired Burlington.

At the end of Q1 2007, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the specialist distributor TTI, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas. TTI, Inc. is a distributor of passive components, connectors and relays and is also represented with a subsidiary in Europe.

In a mandatory notification to the Securities and Exchange Commission was announced in August 2007 that Berkshire Hathaway until end of June 2007 shares of Bank of America worth about 425 million U.S. dollars and shares in the media group Dow Jones worth almost $ 160 million before has acquired the sale to Rupert Murdoch.

On 23 January 2008 Berkshire Hathaway has acquired a 3% share of the reinsurance company Swiss Re.

The greatest investment over 44 billion U.S. dollars in the company's history gave Berkshire Hathaway on 3 November 2009 with the acquisition of the railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe ( BNSF ) is known. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigated whether the company has complied with its statutory disclosure obligations in this transaction.

On February 14, 2013 it was announced that the HJ Heinz Company of Berkshire Hathaway and the financial investor 3G Capital is adopted. The purchase price is 28 billion U.S. dollars.

Consolidated companies and participations

On 31 Dec 2012 Berkshire Hathaway held the following consolidated investments:

In addition, Berkshire held on 31 December 2012, minority interests in at least the following companies ( pension funds not included):

In addition, the GEICO Insurance maintains several blocks of shares of various companies as an investment. These included, in 2001 approximately two billion U.S. dollars. Since they are not shown separately in the annual report, this share packages frequently for rumors worry.