Amsterdam Financial Services Correspondent
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May 17, 2012

Berkshire Hathaway to buy Media General newspapers

By Jennifer Saba and Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc is making another bet on the newspaper industry, with a deal to buy the majority of Media General Inc’s papers for $142 million in cash.

Berkshire will also loan $400 million to the company and provide a $45 million credit line. Media General will issue warrants for approximately 4.6 million Class A shares, representing 19.9 percent of its existing shares outstanding.

May 15, 2012

Berkshire adds GM, Viacom positions in first quarter

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway added new positions in automaker General Motors and media conglomerate Viacom in the first quarter and cut its stake in chipmaker Intel by 33 percent, the conglomerate said in a quarterly holdings statement on Tuesday.

Berkshire also boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores by 20 percent in the first quarter, just before news broke of a bribery scandal involving the company’s Mexican unit. The ice-cream-to-insurance conglomerate is the retailer’s fifth-largest shareholder.

May 15, 2012

Berkshire adds GM, Viacom positions in 1st qtr

May 15 (Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway added new
positions in automaker General Motors and media
conglomerate Viacom in the first quarter and cut its
stake in chipmaker Intel by 33 percent, the
conglomerate said in a quarterly holdings statement on Tuesday.

Berkshire also boosted its position in Wal-Mart Stores
by 20 percent in the first quarter, just before news
broke of a bribery scandal involving the company’s Mexican unit.
The ice-cream-to-insurance conglomerate is the retailer’s
fifth-largest shareholder.

May 11, 2012

Analysis: Insurers find it tough to price fracking risk

By Braden Reddall and Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – From water worries to well blowouts, the inherent risks of oil and gas extraction are often played down by those in the business. But another group of profit-seekers has every reason to keep a close eye on dangers for drillers: their insurers.

Underwriters now face a politically charged problem in the perceived threats to water supplies of hydraulic fracturing.

May 11, 2012

Special Report: The long, lethal shadow of asbestos

BOSTON (Reuters) – As anyone in the United States with a TV or Internet connection probably knows, lawyers want you if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, and they’re paying to get you.

At one point earlier this year, 15 of the 100 most expensive keyword search phrases for click-through ads on Google contained the word “mesothelioma,” the deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The single most expensive phrase, online marketing firm SpyFu reported, was “Florida mesothelioma lawyers,” at $177.74 per click.

May 11, 2012

SPECIAL REPORT: The long, lethal shadow of asbestos

BOSTON, May 11 (Reuters) – As anyone in the United States
with a TV or Internet connection probably knows, lawyers want
you if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, and they’re paying to
get you.

At one point earlier this year, 15 of the 100 most expensive
keyword search phrases for click-through ads on Google contained
the word “mesothelioma,” the deadly cancer caused by asbestos
exposure. The single most expensive phrase, online marketing
firm SpyFu reported, was “Florida mesothelioma lawyers,” at
$177.74 per click.

May 7, 2012

Warren Buffett says buying stocks amid market dip

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is adding to its shareholdings of two U.S. companies amid a market dip, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Monday.

Buffett, Berkshire’s controlling shareholder, also forecast record results this year for Berkshire’s largest non-insurance businesses, among them the railroad BNSF and the utility MidAmerican.

May 6, 2012

Buffett plays down health concern, mulled megadeal

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) – Warren Buffett tried to allay fears of Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders about the company’s future after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and revealed that he recently tried to make one of the biggest acquisitions of his storied career.

The question of who will succeed Buffett, 81, as chief executive became more of an imperative after Buffett disclosed the diagnosis on April 17.

May 5, 2012

Buffett tries to assure on health, mulled megadeal

, May 5 (Reuters) – Warren Buffett tried to allay
fears of Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders
about the company’s future after he was diagnosed with prostate
cancer, and revealed that he recently tried to make one of the
biggest acquisitions of his storied career.

The question of who will succeed Buffett, now 81, as chief
executive has long been a focus of shareholders, and became more
of an imperative after Buffett disclosed the diagnosis last
month.

May 5, 2012

Buffett tries to assure on Berkshire succession

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) – Warren Buffett assured shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc that the company will be in good hands after he steps down, trying to allay fears about Berkshire’s succession plan after revealing he had prostate cancer.

The question of who will succeed Buffett, now 81, as chief executive has long been a focus of shareholders, and became more of an imperative after Buffett disclosed the diagnosis last month.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Berkowitz covers the insurance industry in New York City. He rejoined Reuters in Amsterdam in May 2009, covering the Dutch banking system and economy. He originally worked for Reuters in Los Angeles and New York from 2001 to 2006 covering everything from video games to oil. In between he was business editor at AOL, head of the editing desk at AP Business News and managing editor of Fidelity.com."
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