Buffett seeks private equity-esque mega deals

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has expressed interest in doing $40 billion to $60 billion deals, a move that could cause his publicly traded insurance and investment firm to go head-to-head with buyout shops.

Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, said he’d “love” to do a $40 billion (€29.5 billion) deal and would “figure out a way” to generate the capital for a $60 billion acquisition, according to a Bloomberg report.

Buffett

“I would hope something would come along where I would have to sell something that I like, to buy something huge I like even better,’’ Buffett said.

The billionaire investor made the comments at Berkshire’s annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The “Oracle of Omaha” often uses the meeting to comment on economic trends and issues; at last year’s event, Buffett lashed out at the private equity industry for “flipping” assets and charging hefty fees. Buffett, America’s third richest individual, is known for his value-oriented, long-term investment strategy and personal frugality.

Should Berkshire begin dabbling in mega deals, it would further resemble and compete with the private equity firms Buffett has repeatedly criticised.

In 2005, he spoke to a group of Vanderbilt University students as to the difference between Berkshire Hathaway and buyout firms: “Business owners who are looking to sell can either sell their business to Berkshire – like putting a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art – or sell it to an LBO and let them tear it up, dress up the accounting, and resell it – like selling a painting to a pawn shop,” he said.