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Berkshire Hathaway

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Company

Berkshire Hathaway Template:Nyse is a company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies.

Berkshire Affiliates include Borsheim's Fine Jewelry, an enormous Omaha jewelry store; Nebraska Furniture Mart; The Pampered Chef; See's Candies; clothing manufacturer Fruit of the Loom; and several insurance companies such as GEICO and General Re. In 1998 Berkshire Hathaway purchased Dairy Queen.

Formerly a textile company, it was taken over by Warren Buffett in the 1960s, but its textile venture did not succeed.

However, many of the investments Buffett made were spectacularly successful, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Although Buffett retains a controlling stake in the company, it has thousands of shareholders, and these investors often are very interested and involved in the running of the business. Berkshire Hathaway holds yearly meetings that are heavily attended by these investors, many of them families. It has been called the "Capitalist Woodstock".

Berkshire Hathaway is notable in that it never allows its shares to split. Each share is thus worth tens of thousands of dollars. However, Berkshire Hathaway has created a Class B stock, with a price set to 1/30 of that of the original shares (now Class A) but 1/200 of the per-share voting rights. 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."

Contents

Quick facts

  • Common stock investments market value 12/31/04: $37,717 million


Consolidated financial statements

  • Total shareholders’ equity December 31, 2004: $85,900 million

Subsidiaries

A complete list of subsidiaries with links can be viewed at this website (http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/subs/sublinks.html).

Subsidiaries related to insurance and finance

Companies with a "beneficial owner" relationship

This includes some of the companies where a Berkshire Hathaway stake is 5% or more of the outstanding stock, as reported in the last proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

External links

Company websites

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