Breakingviews

Buffett’s $37 bln Castparts deal lacks precision

August 10, 2015

The Oracle’s Berkshire Hathaway is paying 19 times earnings for aircraft components maker Precision Castparts. The acquisition fits Buffett’s mold, but also coincides with cyclical highs in plane orders, stock valuations and M&A. Even for a long-term investor, the timing is odd.

Buffett makes golden case for Teflon force field

May 4, 2015

At a 50th anniversary Woodstock for Capitalism celebration, the Oracle of Omaha easily parried queries and concerns about Coke, IBM, NetJets and more. While Berkshire Hathaway will one day miss Buffett’s investing nous, his human shield powers may be his most undervalued quality.

Buffett’s $4.7 bln Duracell deal a double positive

November 13, 2014

Berkshire Hathaway is trading its Procter & Gamble stake for the consumer stalwart’s battery unit. Swapping a reliable staple for a declining business looks odd. But it’s tax-efficient and P&G’s injecting $1.8 bln of cash. Even with that, the seller’s getting a decent price.

Review: No bets on Berkshire after Warren Buffett

October 31, 2014

Lawrence Cunningham’s “Berkshire Beyond Buffett” argues the Oracle of Omaha has built a corporate culture that will ensure success after his departure. The book does a good job of cataloging Buffett’s portfolio. But it doesn't make a strong enough case for investors to follow.

Why buybacks should be banned

By Edward Hadas
September 16, 2014

Some share repurchases get Warren Buffett’s seal of approval. But the great investor is on the wrong track. Buybacks are really dividends by another name. The price doesn’t matter. Besides, the practice is unfair to some shareholders and to governments. The world would be better without them.

Buffett and tax outrage both diversions in BK deal

August 26, 2014

The Sage of Omaha is lending Burger King money, at a lucrative 9 percent, but his imprint tells stock investors nothing. And contrary to social media hysteria, a new parent company in Canada isn’t going to fleece the U.S. taxman. The $11 bln purchase of Tim Hortons is just an LBO.

Why can Burger King, but not Wendy’s, own Hortons?

August 26, 2014

In 2005, Bill Ackman, now BK’s No. 2 shareholder, pressured rival Wendy’s to spin off the Canadian doughnut chain - arguing it was undervalued, the synergies “minimal” and management insufficiently incentivized. Funny how a robust dose of financial engineering changes minds.

GE payback of Buffett reflects climb from crisis

September 13, 2011

When Warren Buffett invests in companies, markets almost always interpret it as a great vote of confidence. But isn't it an even more positive signal when those same companies, returned to health and flush with abundant profits, pay him back?

IBM bet doesn’t mean Buffett’s tech spots changed

November 14, 2011

The Oracle famously avoids tech stocks but bought a $10.7 bln stake in Big Blue. Once at the cutting edge of supercomputers, IBM just pulled out of a next-generation project. It’s now a predictable, well-branded consulting firm. IBM’s investment profile evolved, not Buffett’s.

Buffett steals page from odd playbook: Murdoch’s

November 30, 2011

The Berkshire Hathaway boss is buying his local newspaper publisher, defying his own investment advice. The Sage of Omaha can’t need more influence in his own backyard. But like other fogeys including Rupert Murdoch, he can’t shake a soft spot for print and its enduring clout.