Breakingviews

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.

Agnellis pay up to claim mini-Buffett status

April 15, 2015

Exor, the Italian family’s holding company, is offering a premium to buy PartnerRe out of a merger with fellow reinsurer Axis. The price is full and the bid lacks its rival’s synergies. But debt is cheap, and Berkshire Hathaway-style cash flow could fund further acquisitions.

Rob Cox: Eat or be eaten is real Kraft calculus

March 31, 2015

It had a chance to buy Heinz two years ago. Instead of securing more of the combined value for itself, it’s now ceding control and renting its balance sheet. While selling to Warren Buffett gives the board cover, it raises questions about the sort of managers shareholders want.

Buffett-3G juggernaut can keep on truckin’

March 26, 2015

Kraft Heinz is the third time the Sage of Omaha and the trio behind AB InBev have joined forces, after swoops on the ketchup maker and Tim Hortons. The partners’ patience, financial firepower and industry experience give them big advantages. Bigger deals may lie down the road.

Kraft investors bet Heinz can refill secret sauce

March 25, 2015

The Velveeta cheese maker’s stock jumped a third – making the company worth nearly $50 bln – on news of its sale to the ketchup giant, which 3G Capital and Warren Buffett took private in 2013. The math works if Heinz can repeat its margin magic and leap hurdles to scaling Kraft.

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.

Coke challenge goes beyond revising pay plan

October 3, 2014

The beverage giant has backed off its controversial executive compensation scheme. That’s a win for Warren Buffett, investor David Winters and the company’s other shareholders. But the quibbles with Coke don’t end with excessive pay. Costs loom as the next activist target.

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.