Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is expected to attract about 38,000 people to Omaha, Neb. this weekend for its annual shareholder weekend, including its annual meeting.
It is perhaps the largest attended gala in corporate America, drawing investors and media from all over the world.
Buffett took over Berkshire in 1965 when it was a failing textile company, and closed that business two decades later.
He has built his company into an insurance, manufacturing, energy and retailing colossus with more than 80 companies, well over $100-billion (U.S.) of common stock investments, and a market value well far exceeding $300-billion.
The following information about Berkshire and Buffett is drawn from the company’s 2013 annual report, its website and other resources.
Berkshire financial information
2013 net income: $19.48-billion (U.S.), up 31 per cent from 2012.
2013 operating income: $15.14-billion, up 20 per cent from 2012.
2013 revenue: $182.15-billion, up 12 per cent from 2012.
Cash and equivalents at year-end: $48.19-billion.
Stock price: The price of Berkshire Class A shares is high, recently topping $190,000, because there are few outstanding. Berkshire Class B shares were introduced in 1996, and are valued at about 1/1,500th of Class A shares.
Dividend payout: None. Cash dividend last declared in 1997.
Selected companies owned by Berkshire
Benjamin Moore, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BNSF Railway, Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry, Brooks, Business Wire, Clayton Homes, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, General Re, H.J. Heinz (50 per cent stake), International Dairy Queen, Iscar Metalworking, Lubrizol, Marmon Holdings, McLane, National Indemnity, Nebraska Furniture Mart, NetJets, See’s Candies.
Major Berkshire stock investments as of Dec. 31, 2013
Coca-Cola – 9.1 per cent; 400,000,000 shares worth $16.5-billion
Exxon Mobil – 0.9 per cent; 41,129,643 shares worth $4.2-billion
IBM – 6.3 per cent; 68,121,984 shares worth $12.8-billion
Munich Re – 11.2 per cent; 20,060,380 shares worth $4.4-billion
Procter & Gamble – 1.9 per cent; 52,477,678 shares worth $4.3-billion
Wal-Mart Stores – 1.8 per cent; 56,805,984 shares worth $4.5-billion
Wells Fargo – 9.2 per cent; 483,470,853 shares worth $21,950
Largest Berkshire acquisitions since 1995
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, 2009, $27-billion*
General Re, 1998, $16-billion
H.J. Heinz, 2013, $12-billion (50-per-cent stake)
Lubrizol, 2011, $9-billion
Energy, 2013, $6-billion
PacifiCorp, 2005, $5-billion
Marmon Holdings, 2007, $5-billion
* U.S. dollars, rounded to nearest billion
Source: Barclays Capital
Facts about Warren Buffett
Born: August 30, 1930
Education: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Columbia Business School
worth: $65.8-billion as of May 1, 2014*
Worldwide rank in net worth: No. 3* (Berkshire director and Buffett bridge partner Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp co-founder, ranks No. 1.)
Ownership stake in Berkshire: 20.5 per cent as of March 1
Voting power at Berkshire: 34.4 per cent as of March 1
Annual salary at Berkshire: $100,000
* Source: Forbes
Succession: Expects to have his roles as Berkshire chief executive officer, chief investment officer and chairman among different people. Howard Buffett, his son, is expected to become non-executive chairman, and work to preserve Berkshire’s culture and ethics. Warren Buffett has not publicly signaled any plan to step down soon.
Famous quotation: “Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm and I will be ruthless.” – Sept. 4, 1991 testimony before Congress about Salomon Inc, where Buffett became interim chairman to restore order after a Treasury auction bidding scandal Philanthropy: Plans for every Berkshire share he owns to go to philanthropies after his death. In June 2006, pledged 85 per cent of his net worth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities.
Home: Lived for more than a half-century in a 10-room, five-bedroom home on less than three-quarters of an acre in Omaha, near his office. The home was assessed at $660,200 in 2013, Douglas County, Nebraska records show.
Food habits: Likes steak, hamburger, french fries, ketchup, Cherry Coke, See’s Candies.
Health: Survived prostate cancer in 2012. Often says he enjoys “tap dancing to work.”
Date he created Twitter account: May 2, 2013
First tweet: “Warren is in the house.”
Number of tweets as of May 2, 2014: 5
Number of Twitter followers as of May 2, 2014: 825,000
Follow us on Twitter: