- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway hasn’t closed a major takeover since 2016, and the holding company’s ammunition for such a deal is building up.
- Berkshire has $US137 billion to deploy for its next deal, and precedent shows Buffett shelling out tens of billions of dollars for his biggest acquisitions.
- Here are the 10 biggest deals in Berkshire Hathaway’s history, from Precision Castparts to Duracell.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
Warren Buffett hasn’t closed a major takeover since 2016, and if precedent is anything to go by, the next one will be colossal.
Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on a $US137 billion cash pile, and even as valuations tank amid the pandemic-fuelled downturn, Buffett isn’t chasing any deals. While some companies approached Berkshire for aid, the Federal Reserve’s move into corporate bond purchases erased any chances for a near-term acquisition, Buffett said at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in early May.
“We haven’t done anything because we don’t see anything that attractive to do,” the CEO said. “The companies we were getting calls from, after the Fed acted, a number of them were able to get money in the public market frankly at terms we wouldn’t have given.”
“Now that could change very quickly or it may not change,” he added, referring to Berkshire’s lack of targets.
Whenever Buffett does find a new firm to add to his corporate empire, expect the Oracle of Omaha to shell out hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.
Here are Berkshire Hathaway’s 10 biggest acquisitions, in ascending order by dollar value.
Price: $US4 billion
Berkshire bought this Israeli metalworking company in 2006, and Buffett later deemed the purchase a “dream acquisition.”
9. Marmon Holdings
Price: $US4.5 billion
Founded by current Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Berkshire took over this holding company at the start of 2008.
Price: $US4.7 billion
Berkshire’s acquisition of this battery giant arrived in 2014 after Proctor & Gamble sought to spin off the business. Buffett’s firm bought Duracell entirely with P&G stock, and the company’s transfer to Berkshire wasn’t completed until early 2016.
7. NV Energy
Price: $US5.6 billion
Berkshire’s energy-focused subsidiary bought this Las Vegas-based utility company in early 2013.
Price: $US9.4 billion
The same subsidiary, now known as Berkshire Hathaway Energy, bought this electric power distributor in 2005.
Price: $US9.7 billion
Purchased by Berkshire in 2011, this chemical company was investigated by French authorities when a devastating 2019 fire saw thousands of tons of chemical products go up in smoke.
4. General Reinsurance
Price: $US22 billion
One of Berkshire’s older multibillion-dollar deals, Buffett took over General Reinsurance in 1998 before combining it with Cologne Re and marketing the two as Gen Re.
3. Kraft Heinz
Price: $US28 billion
Berkshire and 3G Capital took over this ketchup maker in 2013 before merging it with food titan Kraft two years later.
2. Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Price: $US34 billion
Berkshire Hathaway took a controlling stake in this railway company in late 2009. Though the purchase totaled $US34 billion, the assumption of $US10 billion in company debt makes the Burlington Northern Santa Fe takeover Berkshire’s largest in history.
1. Precision Castparts
Price: $US37 billion
While the aforementioned railway deal may be largest when accounting for debt, Berkshire’s 2016 purchase of this industrial goods firm is the largest acquisition made by Buffett’s holding company.
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