Do you own a business? Are you interested in selling it?
If so, Warren Buffett and his team at Berkshire Hathaway might interested in buying it.
However, it must at least meet these six criteria. (verbatim from Berkshire Hathaway’s 2014 letter to shareholders):
(1) Large purchases (at least $US75 million of pre-tax earnings unless the business will fit into one of our existing units),
(2) Demonstrated consistent earning power (future projections are of no interest to us, nor are “turnaround” situations),
(3) Businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt,
(4) Management in place (we can’t supply it),
(5) Simple businesses (if there’s lots of technology, we won’t understand it),
(6) An offering price (we don’t want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown).
That’s pretty straight forward.
Buffett offers a little more colour in the types of pitches he’s looking for. For one thing, he’s looking for big companies.
“The larger the company, the greater will be our interest: We would like to make an acquisition in the $US5-20 billion range. We are not interested, however, in receiving suggestions about purchases we might make in the general stock market.”
And he’s not interested in picking fights.
“We will not engage in unfriendly takeovers.”
If you have his ear, things will move quickly.
“We can promise complete confidentiality and a very fast answer — customarily within five minutes — as to whether we’re interested. We prefer to buy for cash, but will consider issuing stock when we receive as much in intrinsic business value as we give. We don’t participate in auctions.”
“Charlie and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that don’t come close to meeting our tests: We’ve found that if you advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping to sell you their cocker spaniels,” Buffett added. “A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: ‘When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.'”
Don’t wast the oracle’s time. But if your business meets the criteria, shoot him a fax!
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