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Berkshire Hathaway () is an American
multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign state that comprises two or more nat ...
conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a production crew and musical group founded by Busta Rhymes ** Con ...
holding company A holding company is a company whose primary business is holding a controlling interest in the securities of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies ...
headquartered in
Omaha, Nebraska Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in Nor ...
, United States. The company wholly owns
GEICO The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO ) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland Chevy Chase is the name of both a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally ...

GEICO
,
Duracell Duracell Inc. is an American manufacturing company owned by Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, ...
,
Dairy Queen Dairy Queen (DQ) is an American chain Roller chains A chain is a serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope A rope is a group of yarns, Plying, plies ...
,
BNSF The BNSF Railway is the largest freight railroad hauled container freight train on the West Coast Main Line, United Kingdom Rail freight transport is the use of rail transport, railroads and train pulling passenger cars in Nevad ...
, Lubrizol,
Fruit of the Loom Fruit of the Loom is an American company that manufactures clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on ...
, Helzberg Diamonds, Long & Foster, FlightSafety International, Pampered Chef, Forest River, and
NetJets NetJets Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is an American company that sells part ownership or shares (called Fractional ownership of aircraft, fractional ownership) of private business jets. NetJets was founded in 1964 as Executive Jet ...
, and also owns 38.6% of
Pilot Flying J Pilot Travel Centers LLC, doing business as Pilot Flying J, is a North American chain of truck stops in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Cont ...
; and significant minority holdings in public companies
Kraft Heinz Company The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC), commonly known as Kraft Heinz, is an American food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and Heinz and is co-headquartered in Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map ...
(26.7%),
American Express The American Express Company (Amex) is a multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinat ...
(18.8%),
The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
(9.32%),
Bank of America The Bank of America Corporation (simply referred to as Bank of America, often abbreviated as BofA or BoA) is an American multinational investment bank Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period o ...

Bank of America
(11.9%), and
Apple An apple is an edible fruit In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this fie ...
(6.3%). Beginning in 2016, the company acquired large holdings in the major US airline carriers, namely
United Airlines United Airlines, Inc. (commonly referred to as United) is a major American airline headquartered in Willis Tower The Willis Tower (formerly known as and commonly referred to as the Sears Tower) is a 108-story Story or stories may refer t ...

United Airlines
,
Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines, Inc., typically referred to as Delta, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sa ...
,
Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines Co., typically referred to as Southwest, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, als ...
, and
American Airlines American Airlines, Inc. (AA or AAL) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly kn ...

American Airlines
but sold all of its airline holdings early in 2020. Berkshire Hathaway has averaged an annual growth in book value of 19.0% to its shareholders since 1965 (compared to 9.7% from the
S&P 500 The Standard and Poor's 500, or simply the S&P 500, is a stock market index tracking the performance of 500 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. It is one of the most commonly followed equity indices. As of Decembe ...

S&P 500
with dividends included for the same period), while employing large amounts of capital, and minimal debt. The company is known for its control and leadership by
Warren Buffett Warren Edward Buffett ( ; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American multinational Multinational may ...
, who serves as chairman and chief executive, and by
Charlie Munger Charles Thomas Munger (born January 1, 1924) is an American billionaire investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. He is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an Ame ...

Charlie Munger
, one of the company's vice-chairmen. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, Buffett focused on long-term investments in publicly traded companies, but more recently he has more frequently bought whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including
confectionery Confectionery is the Art (skill), art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Exact definitions are difficult. In general, however, confectionery is divided into two broad and somewhat overlappi ...
,
retail Retail is the sale of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption ( ...

retail
,
railroads Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transport, transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on Track (rail transport), tracks. In contrast to road transport, where the vehic ...

railroads
,
home furnishings Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, Stool (seat), stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furniture is also used to hold objec ...

home furnishings
,
encyclopedias An encyclopedia or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into article (publishing), art ...
, manufacturers of
vacuum cleaner A vacuum cleaner, also known simply as a vacuum or a hoover, is a device that causes suction in order to remove dirt from floors, upholstery, draperies, and other surfaces. It is generally electrically driven. The dirt is collected by either a d ...

vacuum cleaner
s,
jewelry Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment 150px, The principal adornment of these girls from the Bundu tribe in Sierra Leone is the adornment of bodies and faces with markings produced by the smearing on by ...

jewelry
sales, manufacture and distribution of
uniform A uniform is a variety of clothing A kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textiles, but over ti ...

uniform
s, and several regional
electric Electricity is the set of physics, physical Phenomenon, phenomena associated with the presence and motion of matter that has a property of electric charge. Electricity is related to magnetism, both being part of the phenomenon of electromagnet ...

electric
and gas
utilities A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a ...
. According to the
Forbes Global 2000 The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the top 2,000 public companies in the world by ''Forbes'' magazine. The ranking is based on a mix of four metrics: sales, Profit (accounting), profit, assets and Market capitalization, market value. Th ...
list and formula, Berkshire Hathaway is the eighth-largest public company in the world, the tenth-largest conglomerate by revenue and the largest financial services company by revenue in the world. As of August 2020, Berkshire's Class B stock is the seventh-largest component of the
S&P 500 Index The Standard and Poor's 500, or simply the S&P 500, is a stock market index In finance, a stock index, or stock market index, is an Index (economics), index that measures a stock market, or a subset of the stock market, that helps invest ...
(which is based on free-float market capitalization) and the company is famous for having the most expensive share price in history with
Class A share In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money and investments. Savers and investors have money available ...
s costing around $400,000 each. This is because there has never been a
stock split A stock split or stock divide increases the number of shares In financial markets A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks ...
in its Class A shares and Buffett stated in a 1984 letter to shareholders that he does not intend to split the stock.


History

Berkshire Hathaway traces its roots to a
textile manufacturing Textile manufacturing is a major industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For ...
company established by
Oliver Chace Oliver Chace (August 24, 1769 – May 21, 1852) was an American 18th and 19th-century businessman. He was the founder of several New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeaster ...

Oliver Chace
in 1839 as the Valley Falls Company in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. Chace had previously worked for
Samuel Slater Samuel Slater (June 9, 1768 – April 21, 1835) was an early English-American industrialist known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution" (a phrase coined by Andrew Jackson) and the "Father of the American Factory System". In the UK ...
, the founder of the first successful textile mill in America. Chace founded his first textile mill in 1806. In 1929, the Valley Falls Company merged with the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company established in 1889, in
Adams, Massachusetts Adams is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use ...
. The combined company was known as Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates. In 1955, Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates merged with the
Hathaway Manufacturing Company
Hathaway Manufacturing Company
which had been founded in 1888 in
New Bedford, Massachusetts New Bedford (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ) is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2020 United States census, 2020 United States Census, the city had a population of 101,079, m ...
by Horatio Hathaway with profits from
whaling Whaling is the process of hunting of whales for their usable products such as Whale meat, meat and blubber, which can be turned into Whale oil, a type of oil that became increasingly important in the Industrial Revolution. It was practiced as ...

whaling
and the China Trade. Hathaway had been successful in its first decades, but it suffered during a general decline in the
textile industry The textile industry is primarily concerned with the design, production and distribution of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, ...
after World War I. At this time, Hathaway was run by Seabury Stanton, whose investment efforts were rewarded with renewed profitability after the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. After the merger, Berkshire Hathaway had 15 plants employing over 12,000 workers with over $120 million in revenue, and was headquartered in
New Bedford New Bedford (Massachusett The Massachusett are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American people and ethnic group in the United States Massachusetts, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, mostly inhabiting their traditional homeland whi ...
. However, seven of those locations were closed by the end of the decade, accompanied by large layoffs. In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway after noticing a pattern in the price direction of its stock whenever the company closed a mill. Eventually, Buffett acknowledged that the textile business was waning and the company's financial situation was not going to improve. In 1964, Stanton made an oral tender offer to buy back Buffett's stake in the company for $11 per share. Buffett agreed to the deal. A few weeks later, Warren Buffett received the tender offer in writing, but the tender offer was for only $11. Buffett later admitted that this lower, undercutting offer made him angry. Instead of selling at the slightly lower price, Buffett decided to buy more of the stock to take control of the company and fire Stanton (which he did). However, this made Buffett the majority owner of a failing textile business. Buffett initially maintained Berkshire's core business of textiles, but by 1967, he was expanding into the insurance industry and other investments. Berkshire first ventured into the insurance business with the purchase of National Indemnity Company. In the late 1970s, Berkshire acquired an
equity stake In finance, equity is ownership of asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information ab ...
in the Government Employees Insurance Company (
GEICO The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO ) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland Chevy Chase is the name of both a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally ...

GEICO
), which forms the core of its insurance operations today (and is a major source of capital for Berkshire Hathaway's other investments). In 1985, the last textile operations (Hathaway's historic core) were shut down. In 2010, Buffett claimed that purchasing Berkshire Hathaway was the biggest investment mistake he had ever made, and claimed that it had denied him compounded investment returns of about $200 billion over the subsequent 45 years. Buffett claimed that had he invested that money directly in insurance businesses instead of buying out Berkshire Hathaway (due to what he perceived as a slight by an individual), those investments would have paid off several hundredfold.


Corporate affairs

Berkshire's
class A share In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money and investments. Savers and investors have money available ...
s sold for $339,188 as of January 8, 2020, making them the highest-priced shares on the
New York Stock Exchange The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an U ...

New York Stock Exchange
, in part because they have never had a
stock split A stock split or stock divide increases the number of shares In financial markets A financial market is a market in which people trade financial securities and derivatives at low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks ...
and have only paid a
dividend A dividend is a distribution of profit Profit may refer to: Business and law * Profit (accounting), the difference between the purchase price and the costs of bringing to market * Profit (economics), normal profit and economic profit * Profit ...

dividend
once since Warren Buffett took over, retaining corporate earnings on its balance sheet in a manner that is impermissible for
mutual fund A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment fund An investment fund is a way of investment, investing money alongside other investors in order to benefit from the inherent advantages of working as part of a group such as reducing the ri ...
s. Shares closed over $100,000 for the first time on October 23, 2006. Despite its size, Berkshire had for many years not been included in broad stock market indices such as the
S&P 500 The Standard and Poor's 500, or simply the S&P 500, is a stock market index tracking the performance of 500 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. It is one of the most commonly followed equity indices. As of Decembe ...

S&P 500
due to the lack of liquidity in its shares; however, following a 50-to-1 split of Berkshire's class B shares in January 2010, and Berkshire's announcement that it would acquire the
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC is the parent company of the BNSF Railway The BNSF Railway is the largest freight railroad network in North America. One of nine North American Class I railroads, BNSF has 41,000 employees, of track in 28 stat ...
, parent of
BNSF Railway The BNSF Railway is the largest freight railroad network in North America. One of nine North American Class I railroads, BNSF has 41,000 employees, of track in 28 states, and more than 8,000 locomotives. It has three Transcontinental railroad, ...
, Berkshire replaced BNSF in the S&P 500 on February 16, 2010. Buffett's letters to shareholders are published annually. '' Barron's'' said Berkshire was the most respected company in the world in 2007, based on a survey of American money managers. In 2008, Berkshire invested in
preferred stock Preferred stock (also called preferred shares, preference shares, or simply preferreds) is a component of share capital __NOTOC__ A corporation's share capital
of
Goldman Sachs The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. () is an American multinational investment bank Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as tim ...

Goldman Sachs
as part of a recapitalization of the investment bank. Buffett defended
Lloyd Blankfein Lloyd Craig Blankfein (born September 20, 1954) is an American investment banker who has served as senior chairman of Goldman Sachs The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., () is an American multinational investment bank and financial services compan ...
's decisions as CEO of Goldman Sachs. , Buffett owned 31.7% aggregate voting power of Berkshire's shares outstanding and 18.0% of the economic value of those shares. Berkshire's vice-chairman,
Charlie Munger Charles Thomas Munger (born January 1, 1924) is an American billionaire investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. He is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an Ame ...

Charlie Munger
, also holds a stake big enough to make him a billionaire, and early investments in Berkshire by David Gottesman and Franklin Otis Booth, Jr. resulted in their becoming billionaires as well. The
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), a merging of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation, is an American private foundation A private foundation is a charitable organization A charitable organization or cha ...
is a large shareholder of Berkshire, owning 4.0% of class B shares. Berkshire Hathaway has never
split Split(s) or The Split may refer to: Places * Split, Croatia, the largest coastal city in Croatia * Split Island, Canada, an island in the Hudson Bay * Split Island, Falkland Islands * Split Island, Fiji, better known as Hạfliua Arts, entertainm ...
its Class A shares because of management's desire to attract long-term investors as opposed to short-term speculators. However, Berkshire Hathaway created a Class B stock, with a per-share value originally kept (by specific management rules) close to of that of the original shares (now Class A) and of the per-share voting rights, and after the January 2010 split, at the price and the voting rights of the Class-A shares. Holders of class A stock are allowed to convert their stock to Class B, though not vice versa. Buffett was reluctant to create the class B shares but did so to thwart the creation of unit trusts that would have marketed themselves as Berkshire look-alikes. As Buffett said in his 1995 shareholder letter: "The unit trusts that have recently surfaced fly in the face of these goals. They would be sold by brokers working for big commissions, would impose other burdensome costs on their shareholders, and would be marketed ''en masse'' to unsophisticated buyers, apt to be seduced by our past record and beguiled by the publicity Berkshire and I have received in recent years. The sure outcome: a multitude of investors destined to be disappointed." The salary for Buffett is $100,000 per year with no stock options, which is among the lowest salaries for CEOs of large companies in the United States. Berkshire's annual shareholders' meetings take place at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Attendance has grown over the years with recent numbers totaling over 40,000 people a year. The 2007 meeting had an attendance of approximately 27,000. The meetings, nicknamed "
Woodstock Woodstock was a music festival held August 15–18, 1969, on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York, southwest of the town of Woodstock. Billed as "an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music" and alternatively referred to as t ...

Woodstock
for Capitalists", are considered Omaha's largest annual event along with the baseball
College World Series The College World Series (CWS), officially the NCAA Men's College World Series (MCWS), is an annual baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) ...
. Known for their humor and light-heartedness, the meetings typically start with a movie made for Berkshire shareholders. The 2004 movie featured
Arnold Schwarzenegger Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (; ; born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-American actor, producer, businessman, retired bodybuilder, and former politician who served as the 38th governor of California from 2003 to 2011. As of , he is the most r ...

Arnold Schwarzenegger
in the role of "The Warrenator" who travels through time to stop Buffett and Munger's attempt to save the world from a "mega" corporation formed by
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
-
Starbucks Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is fle ...

Starbucks
-
Wal-Mart Walmart Inc. (; formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarket Asian hypermarket in the Philippines, a branch of SM Hypermarket in SM Mall of Asia">SM_Hypermarket.html ...

Wal-Mart
. Schwarzenegger is later shown arguing in a gym with Buffett regarding
Proposition 13 Proposition 13 (officially named the People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation) is an amendment of the Constitution of California The Constitution of California ( es, Constitución del Estado de California) is the primary organizing law ...
. The 2006 movie depicted actresses
Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) is an American actress and writer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including a British Academy Film Award The British Academy Film Awards or BAFTA Film Awards are presented in an annual a ...
and
Nicollette Sheridan Nicollette Sheridan (born 21 November 1963) is a British-born American actress. She began her career as a fashion model before landing a role in the short-lived ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. A ...

Nicollette Sheridan
lusting after Munger. The meeting, scheduled to last 6–8 hours, is an opportunity for investors to ask Buffett and Munger questions.


Governance

The current members of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway are
Warren Buffett Warren Edward Buffett ( ; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American multinational Multinational may ...
(Chairman),
Charlie Munger Charles Thomas Munger (born January 1, 1924) is an American billionaire investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. He is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an Ame ...

Charlie Munger
(Vice Chairman), Walter Scott, Jr., Thomas S. Murphy, (Warren's son), Ronald Olson, Charlotte Guyman, David Gottesman, Kenneth Irvine Chenault, Steve Burke, , Meryl Witmer,
Ajit Jain Ajit Jain (born 23 July 1951) is an Indian American executive who is the Vice Chairman of Insurance Operations for Berkshire Hathaway as of January 10, 2018. He was raised in India's coastal state of Odisha. Ajit Jain is an older cousin of Anshu Ja ...
, and
Greg Abel Gregory Edward Abel (born June 1, 1962) is a Canadian businessman, chairman and Chief executive officer, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and vice-chairman of non-insurance operations of Berkshire Hathaway since January 2018. Early life and educa ...
. On March 13, 2020,
Bill Gates William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term character ...
announced that he is leaving the board of directors of both
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
and Berkshire Hathaway in order to focus more on his philanthropic efforts.


Succession plans

In May 2010, 3 months away from his 80th birthday, Buffett said he would be succeeded at Berkshire Hathaway by a team consisting of a CEO and three or four investment managers, each of the latter would be responsible for a "significant portion of Berkshire's investment portfolio". Five months later, Berkshire announced that Todd Combs, manager of the hedge fund Castle Point Capital, would join them as an Investment management, investment manager. On September 12, 2011, Berkshire Hathaway announced that 50-year-old Ted Weschler, founder of Peninsula Capital Advisors, will join Berkshire in early 2012 as a second investment manager. In Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder letter dated February 25, 2012, Buffett said that his successor as CEO had been chosen internally but not named publicly. While the intent of this message was to bolster confidence in the leadership of a "Buffett-less Berkshire", critics have noted that this strategy of choosing a successor without a concrete exit strategy for the sitting CEO often leaves an organization with fewer long term options, while doing little to calm shareholder fear. In June 2014, the firm's cash and cash equivalents rose past $50 billion, the first time it finished a quarter above that level since Buffett became chairman and chief executive officer. At the end of 2017, the firm's cash and cash equivalent holdings rose to $116 billion. On January 10, 2018, Berkshire Hathaway appointed
Ajit Jain Ajit Jain (born 23 July 1951) is an Indian American executive who is the Vice Chairman of Insurance Operations for Berkshire Hathaway as of January 10, 2018. He was raised in India's coastal state of Odisha. Ajit Jain is an older cousin of Anshu Ja ...
and
Greg Abel Gregory Edward Abel (born June 1, 1962) is a Canadian businessman, chairman and Chief executive officer, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and vice-chairman of non-insurance operations of Berkshire Hathaway since January 2018. Early life and educa ...
to Vice-Chairman roles. Abel was appointed vice chairman for non-insurance business operations, and Jain became vice chairman of insurance-operations. While Buffett has not further elaborated on his succession plans, he praised his two top executives in an annual shareholder letter, fuelling speculation that Jain and Abel are the logical successors.


Finance

For the fiscal year 2019, Berkshire Hathaway reported earnings of 81.4 billion, with an annual revenue of 254.6 billion, an increase of 2.7% over the previous fiscal cycle. Berkshire Hathaway's market capitalization was valued at over 496 billion in September 2018. , Berkshire Hathaway is ranked third on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.


Workplace policies

The Human Rights Campaign's 2021 Corporate Equality Index gave Berkshire Hathaway a 20 rating out of 100, one of the lowest among Fortune 500 companies.


Businesses and investments


Insurance group

Insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through approximately 70 domestic and foreign-based insurance companies. Berkshire's insurance businesses provide insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks primarily in the United States. In addition, as a result of the General Re acquisition in December 1998, Berkshire's insurance businesses also includes life, accident, and health reinsurers, as well as internationally based property and casualty reinsurers. Berkshire's insurance companies maintain capital strength at exceptionally high levels. This strength differentiates Berkshire's insurance companies from their competitors. Collectively, the aggregate statutory surplus of Berkshire's U.S.-based insurers was approximately $48 billion . All of Berkshire's major insurance subsidiaries are rated corporate credit rating, AAA by Standard & Poor's, Standard & Poor's Corporation, the highest Financial Strength Rating assigned by Standard & Poor's, and are rated A++ (superior) by A. M. Best with respect to their financial condition and operating performance. *
GEICO The Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO ) is a private American auto insurance company with headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland Chevy Chase is the name of both a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally ...

GEICO
– Berkshire acquired GEICO in January 1996. GEICO is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and its principal insurance subsidiaries include; Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company, and GEICO Casualty Company. Over the past five years, these companies have offered primarily private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. GEICO markets its policies primarily through direct response methods in which applications for insurance are submitted directly to the companies via the Internet or by telephone. * Gen Re – Berkshire acquired General Re in December 1998. General Re held a 91% ownership interest in Cologne Re . General Re subsidiaries currently conduct global reinsurance business in approximately 72 cities and provide global reinsurance coverage. General Re operates the following reinsurance businesses: North American property/casualty, international property/casualty, which principally consists of Cologne Re and the Faraday operations, and life/health reinsurance. General Re's reinsurance operations are primarily based in Stamford, Connecticut, and Cologne, Cologne, Germany. General Re is one of the largest reinsurers in the world based on net premiums written and capital. * NRG (Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep) – Berkshire acquired NRG, a Dutch life reinsurance company, from ING Group in December 2007. * Berkshire Hathaway Assurance – Berkshire created a government bond insurance company to insure municipal and Government bond, state bonds. These types of bonds are issued by local governments to finance public works projects such as schools, hospitals, roads, and sewer systems. Few companies are capable of competing in this area. On June 8, 2017, it was announced that Berkshire Hathaway had settled with California's insurance regulator, allowing its Applied Underwriters unit to sell a revised version of its "controversial" compensation insurance policies for workers in the state. Berkshire Hathaway sold Applied Underwriters in 2019.


Utilities and energy group

Berkshire currently holds 89.8% of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. At the time of purchase, Berkshire's voting interest was limited to 10% of the company's shares, but this restriction ended when the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 was repealed in 2005. A major subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy is Northern Powergrid, which operates in the UK. Until a name change on April 30, 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Energy was known as MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.


Manufacturing, service and retailing


Recreational vehicles

On June 21, 2005, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to purchase Forest River (company), Forest River Inc. from Pete Liegl. Forest River is the largest seller of recreational vehicles (RV's), in the world.


Clothing

Berkshire's clothing businesses include manufacturers and distributors of a variety of clothing and footwear. Businesses engaged in the manufacture and distribution of clothing include Fruit of the Loom, Union Underwear Corp. – Fruit of the Loom, Garanimals, Garan, Russell Corporation and Fechheimer Brothers. Fechheimer Brothers is made up of two brands Flying Cross and Vertx. Flying Cross manufacturers public safety uniforms and Vertx is a civilian tactical clothing company. Berkshire's footwear businesses include H.H. Brown Shoe Group, Acme Boots, Brooks Sports and Justin Brands. Justin Brands is made up of Chippewa Boots, Justin Boots, Justin Original Workboots, Nocona Boots, and Tony Lama Boots. Berkshire acquired
Fruit of the Loom Fruit of the Loom is an American company that manufactures clothing File:KangaSiyu1.jpg, A kanga (African garment), kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on ...
on April 29, 2002 for $835 million in cash. Fruit of the Loom, headquartered in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a vertically integrated manufacturer of basic clothing. Berkshire acquired Russell Corporation on August 2, 2006 for $600 million.


Building products

In August 2000, Berkshire Hathaway entered the building products business with the acquisition of Acme Brick, Acme Building Brands. Acme, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brick), concrete block (Featherlite), and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). It expanded its building products business in December 2000, when it acquired Benjamin Moore & Co. of Montvale, New Jersey. Moore formulates, manufactures, and sells architectural coatings that are available primarily in the United States and Canada. In 2001, Berkshire acquired three additional building products companies. In February, it purchased Johns Manville which was established in 1858 and manufactures fiberglass wool insulation products for homes and commercial buildings, as well as pipe, duct, and equipment insulation products. In July, Berkshire acquired a 90% equity interest in MiTek Inc., which makes engineered connector products, engineering software and services, and manufacturing machinery for the truss fabrication segment of the building components industry and is headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri. Finally in 2001, Berkshire acquired 87 percent of Dalton, Georgia-based Shaw Industries, Inc. Shaw is the world's largest carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of production and designs and manufactures over 3,000 styles of tufted and woven carpet and laminate flooring for residential and commercial use under approximately 30 brand and trade names and under certain private labels. In 2002, Berkshire acquired the remaining 12.7 percent of Shaw. On August 7, 2003, Berkshire acquired Clayton Homes, Inc. Clayton, headquartered near Knoxville, Tennessee, is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. At year-end 2004, Clayton operated 32 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton's homes are marketed in 48 states through a network of 1,540 retailers, 391 of which are company-owned sales centers. On May 1, 2008, Mitek acquired Hohmann & Barnard, a fabricator of anchors and reinforcement systems for masonry and on October 3 of that year, Mitek acquired Blok-Lok, Ltd. of Toronto, Canada. On April 23, 2010, Mitek acquired the assets of Dur-O-Wal from Dayton Superior.


Flight services

In 1996, Berkshire acquired FlightSafety International Inc. (or FSI), founded in 1951 by Albert Lee Ueltschi. FSI's corporate headquarters is located at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, New York. It supplies high technology pilot training to aircraft operators in the fields of military, governmental, corporate, and regional airline, regional or Mainline (aeronautics), mainline flying. FlightSafety is the world's leading provider of professional aviation training services. According to its website, the company has 1,800 instructors and offers more than 4,000 individual courses for 135 aircraft types, using more than 320 flight simulators to serve customers from 167 countries. In 1998, Berkshire acquired
NetJets NetJets Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is an American company that sells part ownership or shares (called Fractional ownership of aircraft, fractional ownership) of private business jets. NetJets was founded in 1964 as Executive Jet ...
Inc., formerly Executive Jet Aviation. NetJets is the world's leading provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. In 1986, NetJets created the fractional ownership of aircraft concept and introduced its NetJets program in the United States with one aircraft type. In 2019, the NetJets program operated more than 10 aircraft types with a fleet size of greater than 750.


Retail

The home furnishings businesses are the Nebraska Furniture Mart, RC Willey Home Furnishings, Star Furniture Company, and Jordan's Furniture, Jordan's Furniture, Inc. CORT Business Services Corporation was acquired in 2000 by an 80.1% owned subsidiary of Berkshire and is the leading national provider of rental furniture, accessories and related services in the "rent-to-rent" segment of the furniture rental industry. In May 2000, Berkshire purchased Ben Bridge Jeweler, a chain of jewelry stores established in 1912 with locations primarily in the western United States. This joined Berkshire's other jeweler acquisition, Helzberg Diamonds. Helzberg is a chain of jewelry stores based in Kansas City that began in 1915 and became part of Berkshire in 1995. In 2002, Berkshire acquired The Pampered Chef, Ltd., the largest direct seller of kitchen tools in the United States. Products are researched, designed, and tested by The Pampered Chef, and manufactured by third-party suppliers. From its Addison, Illinois headquarters, The Pampered Chef utilizes a network of more than 65,000 independent sales representatives to sell its products through home-based party demonstrations, principally in the United States. See's Candies produces boxed chocolates and other confectionery products in two large kitchens in California. See's revenues are highly seasonal with approximately 50% of total annual revenues being earned in the months of November and December.
Dairy Queen Dairy Queen (DQ) is an American chain Roller chains A chain is a serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope A rope is a group of yarns, Plying, plies ...
, based in Edina, Minnesota, services a system of approximately 6,000 stores operating under the names Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, and Karmelkorn. The stores offer various dairy desserts, beverages, prepared foods, blended fruit drinks, popcorn, and other snack foods. In November 2012, Berkshire announced they would acquire the Oriental Trading Company, a direct marketing company for novelty items, small toys, and party items. On October 3, 2017, it was announced that Berkshire Hathaway will acquire 38.6% of truck stop chain
Pilot Flying J Pilot Travel Centers LLC, doing business as Pilot Flying J, is a North American chain of truck stops in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Cont ...
, with plans to increase its stake to 80% in 2023. The Jimmy Haslam, Haslam family and FJ Management will retain ownership stakes until then, upon which the Haslam family will retain the remaining 20% and FJ Management will withdraw altogether. The Haslam family will retain control of day-to-day operations of the company.


Media

In 1977, Berkshire Hathaway purchased the ''Buffalo Evening News'' and resumed publication of a Sunday edition of the paper that had ceased in 1914. After the morning newspaper ''Buffalo Courier-Express'' ceased operation in 1982, the ''Buffalo Evening News'' changed its name to ''The Buffalo News'' and began to print morning and evening editions. It now prints only a morning edition. In 2006, the company bought ''Business Wire'', a U.S. press release agency. The company began its BH Media Group subsidiary with a purchase of the ''Omaha World-Herald'' in December 2011, which included six other daily newspapers and several weeklies across Nebraska and southwest Iowa. In June 2012, Berkshire purchased 63 newspapers from Media General, including the ''Richmond Times-Dispatch'' and ''Winston-Salem Journal'', for $142 million in cash. In 2012, Berkshire bought Texas dailies ''The Bryan-College Station Eagle, The Eagle'' in Bryan-College Station and the ''Waco Tribune-Herald''. In 2013, the company purchased the ''Tulsa World'', the Greensboro, North Carolina-based ''News & Record'', Virginia's ''Roanoke Times'', and ''Press of Atlantic City''. , BH Media owned 28 daily and 42 non-daily newspapers. On March 12, 2014, it was announced that Graham Holdings Company would divest its Miami television station, American Broadcasting Company, ABC affiliate WPLG to BH Media in a cash and stock deal. On January 29, 2020, Lee Enterprises announced an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway to acquire BH Media Group's publications and ''The Buffalo News'' for $140 million in cash.


Real estate

Berkshire Hathaway Energy's HomeServices of America (see complete list of companies) is a residential real estate brokerage firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and founded in 1998. HomeServices has operations in 28 states and over 22,000 sales associates. In addition to brokerage services, these real estate companies provide Mortgage loan, mortgage loan originations, Title insurance, title and closing services, Home warranty, home warranties, Property insurance, property and casualty insurance and other related services. By the end of 2013 Berkshire Hathaway entered the residential real estate brokerage sector under the name of HomeServices of America. In late June 2017, Berkshire Hathaway indirectly acquired Home Capital Group, Home Capital Group Inc for $400 million giving lifeline to the Toronto-based embattled mortgage lender. Also in June 2017, Berkshire's $377 million investment and 10 percent purchase in Store Capital makes it the company's third-largest investor, after The Vanguard Group, Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments. Scottsdale-based Store Capital is a Real estate investment trust, real-estate investment trust, holding more than 1,700 properties across 48 states. Berkshire's other investments tied to real estate include Clayton Homes, which makes manufactured housing.


Other non-insurance

In 2002, Berkshire acquired Albecca Inc. Albecca is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, and primarily does business under the Larson-Juhl name. Albecca designs, manufactures, and distributes custom framing products, including wood and metal molding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment, and other framing supplies. Berkshire acquired CTB International Corp. in 2002. CTB, headquartered in Milford, Indiana, is a designer, manufacturer, and marketer of systems used in the grain industry and in the production of poultry, hogs, and eggs. Products are produced in the United States and Europe and are sold primarily through a global network of independent dealers and distributors, with peak sales occurring in the second and third quarters. Berkshire acquired McLane Company, Inc. in May 2003 from Walmart, which brought on other subsidiaries such as Professional Datasolutions, Inc. and Salado Sales, among others. McLane provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include discount retailers, convenience stores, quick-service restaurants, drug stores and movie theatre complexes. In 1986, Scott Fetzer Companies, a diversified group of 32 brands that manufactures and distributes a significant number of products for residential, industrial, and institutional use, was acquired. The two most significant of these businesses are Kirby Company, Kirby home cleaning systems and Wayne Water Systems and Campbell Hausfeld products. Today, Campbell Hausfeld is no longer held by Scott Fetzer, having been sold to Marmon, also a Berkshire subsidiary in 2015. Scott Fetzer also manufactures Ginsu knives and World Book Encyclopedia. On March 30, 2007, Berkshire Hathaway announced TTI, Inc. to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway Group. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, TTI, Inc. is the largest distributor specialist of passive, interconnect, and electromechanical components. TTI's extensive product line includes; resistors, capacitors, connectors, potentiometers, trimmers, magnetic and circuit protection components, wire and cable, identification products, application tools, and electromechanical devices. On December 25, 2007, Berkshire Hathaway acquired Marmon Group. Previously it was a privately held conglomerate owned by the Pritzker family for over fifty years, which owned and operated an assortment of manufacturing companies that produce railroad tank cars, shopping carts, plumbing pipes, metal fasteners, wiring and water treatment products used in residential construction. In September 2020,
BNSF Railway The BNSF Railway is the largest freight railroad network in North America. One of nine North American Class I railroads, BNSF has 41,000 employees, of track in 28 states, and more than 8,000 locomotives. It has three Transcontinental railroad, ...
, among Berkshire Hathaway's largest entities, hired its first female CEO, Kathryn Farmer. On October 2, 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, an auto dealership subsidiary, was created through the acquisition of Van Tuyl Group, the remaining largest auto dealer in the nation and independently owned up to that date. It is the fifth-largest with ownership of 81 dealerships and revenues of $8 billion. On November 14, 2014, Berkshire Hathaway announced that it would acquire
Duracell Duracell Inc. is an American manufacturing company owned by Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, ...
from Procter & Gamble for $4.7 billion in an all-stock deal.


Finance and financial services

Berkshire acquired Clayton Homes, a maker of modular homes, storage trailers, chassis, intermodal piggyback trailers and domestic containers. Clayton's finance business, (loans to manufactured home owners), earned $206 million down from $526 million in 2007. Loan losses remain 3.6% up from 2.9%.


Investments

As well as owning companies outright, Berkshire maintains a concentrated portfolio of equities and investments which has historically been managed by Warren Buffett. Since 2010, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler also work alongside Buffett in managing investments. Buffett has spoken very highly of both in public interviews and in the 2015 letter to shareholders he described hiring them both as "one of my best moves". In the 2016 letter to shareholders, Warren revealed that each of them independently manages greater than $10 billion on behalf of Berkshire. , 65% of Berkshire's equity securities were concentrated in five companies: American Express, American Express Company ($12.0 billion), Apple Inc. ($19.2 billion),
The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
($17.0 billion), International Business Machines Corporation ("IBM") ($11.2 billion), and Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo & Company ($27.8 billion). After a selloff of IBM stock in February 2018, on May 4, 2018, Buffett announced that Berkshire had completely sold its stake in IBM, and purchased more of Apple. At the peak of the financial crisis in September 2008, Berkshire invested $5 billion in preferred stock in
Goldman Sachs The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. () is an American multinational investment bank Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as tim ...

Goldman Sachs
to provide it with a source of funding when capital markets had become constrained. The preferred stock yielded an annual interest rate of 10% earning Berkshire $500 million in interest income per year. Berkshire also received warrants to purchase 43.5 million shares with a strike price of $115 per share, which were exercisable at any time for a five-year term. Goldman maintained the right to purchase back the preferred stock and in March 2011 exercised this right paying $5.5 billion to Berkshire (the preferred stock could only be purchased back at a 10% premium). The warrants have been exercised and Berkshire holds 3% of the share capital of Goldman Sachs. Profit on the preferred stock was estimated at $1.8 billion and exercising the warrants has yielded a profit of more than $2 billion, although Berkshire's continued ownership of shares in Goldman Sachs means the entire profit cannot be quantified. On August 26, 2011, Berkshire Hathaway purchased $5 billion of preferred shares in
Bank of America The Bank of America Corporation (simply referred to as Bank of America, often abbreviated as BofA or BoA) is an American multinational investment bank Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period o ...

Bank of America
. The investment has an annual interest cost of 6% earning Berkshire $300 million in annual interest. Alongside the preferred stock investment, Berkshire obtained warrants allowing Berkshire to buy 700 million common shares at $7.14 per share any time before September 2, 2021. Based on the share price in June 2017, this position has yielded a profit of more than $10 billion excluding the annual interest earned from the preferred stock. In 2006 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. acquired Russell Corporation for $600 million, in fact getting most shares and brands in many sports leagues – including Spalding (sports equipment), Spalding NBA official basketballs, BIKE Athletic Company protections, AAI (American Athletic) Gymnastics' tables, bars, rings, horses or Dudley softball balls and accessories. In 2008, Berkshire purchased preferred stock in Wrigley Company, Wrigley,
Goldman Sachs The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. () is an American multinational investment bank Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as tim ...

Goldman Sachs
, and GE totaling $14.5 billion. On November 3, 2009, Berkshire Hathaway announced that using stock and cash totaling $26 billion, it would acquire the remaining 77.4 percent of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, parent of
BNSF Railway The BNSF Railway is the largest freight railroad network in North America. One of nine North American Class I railroads, BNSF has 41,000 employees, of track in 28 states, and more than 8,000 locomotives. It has three Transcontinental railroad, ...
, that it did not already own. This was the largest acquisition to date in Berkshire's history. On March 14, 2011, Berkshire Hathaway announced that it would acquire the Lubrizol, Lubrizol Corporation for $9 billion in cash, a deal that was described as one of the largest deals ever for Berkshire Hathaway. On March 25, 2011, Berkshire Hathaway made its first foray into the Indian insurance sector with its non-direct subsidiary BerkshireInsurance.com. On February 14, 2013, Berkshire Hathaway Inc and 3G Capital announced plans to purchase H. J. Heinz Company, H.J. Heinz Co. for $72.50 per share or $28 billion including debt. The company became a majority owner of Heinz on June 18, 2015, after exercising a warrant to acquire 46.2 million shares of common stock for a total price of $462 million increasing its stake to 52.5%. Berkshire owns 1.74 million shares of Gannett. The company also holds part of newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises after buying some of Lee's debt after its bankruptcy filing. On August 10, 2015, the boards of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Precision Castparts Corp. unanimously approved a definitive agreement for Berkshire Hathaway to acquire, for $235 per share in cash, all outstanding PCC shares. In the second quarter of 2020, Berkshire added a position of more than 20 million shares in mining company Barrick Gold, and in the third quarter the company agreed to buy Dominion Energy's natural gas transmission and storage operations. Between September 2019 and August 2020, Berkshire purchased more than 5% of the outstanding stock of each of the five largest Japanese Sogo shosha, general trading companies (Itochu, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi, Mitsui & Co., Mitsui, Sumitomo Corporation, Sumitomo, and Marubeni) through its National Indemnity subsidiary. These stakes were worth a total of over $6 billion as of August 2020.


Investments in Amazon.com Inc.

On May 2, 2019, Warren Buffett told CNBC that one of Berkshire's investment managers, either Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, have been purchasing Amazon (company), Amazon shares. "One of the fellows in the office that manage money [...] bought some Amazon so it will show up in the 13F," Buffett told CNBC. Buffett continued; "Yeah, I've been a fan, and I've been an idiot for not buying. But I want you to know it's no personality changes taking place."


Investment in Apple Inc.

In May 2016, it was revealed in a regulatory filing that Berkshire had acquired a stake in Apple Inc., Apple Inc. The initial position was for 9.8 million shares (0.2% of Apple) worth $1 billion. By the end of June 2016, this stake had increased to 15.2 million shares (0.3% of Apple). Berkshire then restarted buying Apple stock again between September to December. By December 31, 2016, Berkshire had built up a stake of 57.4 million shares (1.1% of Apple) with an estimated average acquisition price of $110 per share (before the 2020 4:1 split). Aggressive stock purchases continued and by March 31, 2017, Berkshire had amassed a stake of 129 million shares (2.5% of Apple). In the 2017 annual report, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed its total position by December 31, 2017, to be 166 million shares (3.3% of Apple). As of February 2019, Berkshire owns 5.4% of Apple with 255.3 million shares. In media reports, Buffett says that Apple has developed an ecosystem and level of brand loyalty that provides it with a competitive moat, and that consumers appear to have a degree of price insensitivity when it comes to the iPhone. While Buffett has famously avoided tech stocks, he has said that Apple is a consumer products company and that he understands consumer products businesses.


Prior investments

Berkshire previously held a considerable stake in Tesco, Tesco Plc, the UK grocery retailer. Berkshire made its first investment in Tesco in 2006 and in 2012 raised this stake to over 5% of the company with a cost for the investment of $2.3 billion. Buffett sold around 30% of this stake in 2013 when he "soured somewhat on the company's then-management" realizing a profit of $43 million. As Tesco's problems mounted through 2014, Berkshire sold all the remaining shares with Buffett saying to shareholders that the delay in selling shares was costly. Berkshire made an after-tax loss of $444 million on the Tesco investment. In 2016, Berkshire surprised investors by making large equity investments in the major US airlines. Buffett had previously described airlines as a "deathtrap for investors". Buffett had made an investment in US Airways in 1989 which, although he sold for a profit, almost lost Berkshire a substantial sum of money. In 2017, Berkshire was the largest shareholder in
United Airlines United Airlines, Inc. (commonly referred to as United) is a major American airline headquartered in Willis Tower The Willis Tower (formerly known as and commonly referred to as the Sears Tower) is a 108-story Story or stories may refer t ...

United Airlines
and
Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines, Inc., typically referred to as Delta, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sa ...
and a top 3 shareholder in
Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines Co., typically referred to as Southwest, is one of the major airlines of the United States Major is a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, als ...
and
American Airlines American Airlines, Inc. (AA or AAL) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly kn ...

American Airlines
. Buffett himself has described this as a "call on the industry" rather than a choice in an individual company. American Airline's CEO Doug Parker is said to have won over Ted Weschler in arguing that the airline industry had consolidated sufficiently and rationalized supply such that longer-term profitability could be achieved in an industry that has historically been loss-making in aggregate. In April 2020 Berkshire sold all shares in US Airlines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subsidiaries and equity holdings


See also

* List of Berkshire Hathaway publications


References


External links


Official website
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