Deals wrap: Warren Buffett’s zoo

March 2, 2011

An elephant sprays earth in the Tsavo East National Park, 280 km (173 miles) east of Kenya's capital Nairobi February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Noor KhamisElephants. Zebras. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett rolled out the animal metaphors in an interview on CNBC on Wednesday to explain that his company remains on the prowl for big acquisitions, which he calls “elephants”.

Buffett said they were hard to find, though, noting he’d lost a sizable one – a “zebra” – in recent days. “There aren’t many elephants out there, and not all of the elephants want to be in my zoo,” he said.

Yahoo is in talks to leave its Japanese joint venture, hoping to transfer its 35 percent stake to partner Softbank. If successful, the divesture could free up nearly $8 billion for the once-mighty Internet firm to compete with Google and Facebook.

“Wall Street’s titans aren’t paid to sweat the details. That’s become painfully obvious from the foreclosure and mortgage mess that may cost big banks like JPMorgan and Bank of America billions of dollars. The past two decades of bank merger mania brought big cost savings, and temporarily higher stock prices, but left a massive muddle,” write Reuters Breakingviews columnists Agnes Crane and Rob Coz in a new piece on the dark side of American bank consolidation.

Lightning-fast, high-volume trading and the handling of private stock offerings, or quasi IPOs, have left U.S. financial regulators scrambling to keep up, officials told the Reuters Future Face of Finance Summit.

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