Business Standard

Warren Buffett still wants deals but can't find any attractive ones

Buffett says his company has benefitted from some extraordinary luck in finding acquisitions, but he hasn't had much of that in recent years, as Berkshire Hathaway's cash pile has grown to $147 bn

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett (Photo: Bloomberg)

AP Omaha
Billionaire Warren Buffett says his company has benefited from some extraordinary luck in finding acquisitions like BNSF railroad over the decades, but he hasn't had much of that in recent years as Berkshire Hathaway's cash pile has grown to nearly USD 147 billion.
Buffett sought to reassure shareholders with his annual letter Saturday that he retains a strong appetite for acquisitions and stock investments, but he hasn't found many of either that interest him at today's inflated prices.
He blamed the continued low interest rates for helping drive up the price of stocks and whole companies alike, and in the past he has said that increasing competition from private equity buyers has made it hard to find good deals.
From time to time, such possibilities are both numerous and blatantly attractive. Today, though, we find little that excites us, Buffett wrote about the prospects for finding good stock investments.
Berkshire has focused on growing the 90-odd businesses the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate already owns and repurchasing its own shares something Buffett has invested USD 51.7 billion in over the last two years including USD 27 billion last year.
And despite the dearth of acquisitions and new investments Berkshire has continued to profit. The company reported making USD 39.6 billion, or USD 26,690 per Class A share, during the fourth quarter. That's up from USD 35.8 billion, or USD 25,015 per Class A share, a year ago.
But those bottom line figures were inflated by paper gains on Berkshire's investments, which is why Buffett maintains that operating earnings are a better measure of the company's performance because they exclude investments and derivatives.
By that measure, Berkshire's operating earnings jumped from USD 5.02 billion, or USD 3,224.74 per Class A share, to USD 7.3 billion, or USD 4,904.23 per Class A share, during the fourth quarter.
The four analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Berkshire to report operating earnings per Class A share of USD 4,197.84 in the quarter.
Berkshire owns an eclectic variety of companies, including BNSF, a number of large electric utilities, Geico insurance and an assortment of manufacturing and retail companies. The conglomerate also holds large stock investments in Apple, Coca-Cola, Bank of America and other companies.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 26 2022 | 9:22 PM IST

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