Berkshire Hathaway

Updated on April 4, 2024
Article byRutan Bhattacharyya
Edited byRutan Bhattacharyya
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Berkshire Hathaway?

Berkshire Hathaway, which is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States, is a conglomerate with multiple companies under its umbrella, like Duracell and Oriental Trading. The company aims to deliver products and services promptly, exceed external and internal customer requirements via continuous improvement, and offer a place for dedicated and knowledgeable persons.

Berkshire Hathaway

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The vision of the organization is to provide choices in communities for comprehensive financial and real estate solutions. A key business goal of the organization is increasing the total value of each share. In September 2023, Berkshire Hathaway’s market cap breached the $800 mark.

Key Takeaways

  • Berkshire Hathaway is a multinational holding company that holds more than 50% shares in various companies across multiple industries. The headquarters of the organization is in Omaha, Nebraska. 
  • The organization aims to raise the overall value per share and provide a place for hardworking and knowledgeable people. It offers a wide range of financial and real estate solutions. 
  • Noteworthy Berkshire Hathaway holdings include GEICO, Pampered Chef, Dairy Queen, and NetJets. 
  • Individuals can buy Berkshire Hathaway stock through any of the best trading platforms by completing the registration procedure and opening a brokerage account.

Berkshire Hathaway Explained

Berkshire Hathaway is a parent company with subsidiaries operating in different industries. After Warren Buffet’s investment group acquired the organization in 1965, it rose to prominence via the Oracle of Omaha’s value investing strategy that involved purchasing undervalued shares. Over time, the initially struggling organization that engaged in textile manufacturing transformed into one of the largest conglomerates globally.

The organization’s chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Warren Buffet, implemented a progressive strategy following the acquisition in 1965. Such a strategy redirected cash flows from the previous textile operations into an extensive range of investments. The company’s class A and B shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange or NYSE. A large number of subsidiaries of this holding company include insurance companies. Besides those, the company has various diverse businesses, as noted above.

Let us look at a list of its subsidiaries to get a better idea regarding Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings.

  • NetJets
  • Pampered Chef
  • Dairy Queen
  • GEICO
  • BNSF Railway
  • Lubrizol
  • Borsheims
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart
  • Pilot Flying J
  • HomeServices of America
  • Marmon Group, etc.

Note that besides owning multiple private companies, this Omaha-based organization holds shares in popular public companies, for example, Bank of America, United Parcel Service, and Apple. Besides Warren Buffet, some of the key shareholders of the company are as follows:

  • BlackRock Fund Advisors
  • The Vangaurd Group, Inc.
  • State Street Corp.
  • Meryl B. Witmer
  • Ronald L. Olson
  • HighTower Advisors, LLC
  • Harris (Everett) & Company

Another key shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway is Geode Capital Management LLC. There’s a lot of interest concerning succession in the case of this company. The big question remains whether one of the greatest investors of all time can continue outperforming the market. After all, Warren Buffet turned 93 in 2023. In May 2021, the late Charlie Munger, wo was the former vice chairman of the company, announced unofficially that Greg Abel will succeed Warren Buffet as the next CEO of the conglomerate.

History & Timeline

Let us look at the history and timeline of Berkshire Hathaway to learn about the key events related to the company.

  • The merger of Berkshire Fine Spinning and Hathaway took place in 1955, leading to the formation of Berkshire Hathaway.
  • In 1965, Warren Buffet’s investment group acquired full control of the organization.
  • Buffet expanded the company’s operations into the insurance space in 1967 while making other investments simultaneously.
  • Warren Buffet became the company’s chairman in 1969. He acquired those companies that he already liked.
  • In 1978, the company established Continental Divide Insurance Company.
  • Shares of the company were listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) in 1988.
  • The company spent $2.3 billion in 1995 to fully acquire GEICO Corporation.  
  • In 2001, Berkshire bought Benjamin Moore Paint, a paint company, for cash worth $1 billion.
  • Berkshire’s cash pile reached an all-time high of $157.2 billion owing to an absence of attractive investment opportunities and high interest rates.

How To Invest In Berkshire Hathaway Stock?

Individuals can invest in Berkshire Hathaway stock by following the steps below:

  1. Open a brokerage account with any of the top-rated trading platforms or brokers.
  2. Log in to the account after registering on the broker’s online platform.
  3. Search the stock by typing in the name or ticker symbol.
  4. Choose the ‘Buy” option.
  5. Select the total number of shares to be purchased.
  6. Choose the order type — limit or market.
  7. After entering the details, ensure to preview the order.
  8. Place the order.

Berkshire Hathaway vs S&P 500 vs BlackRock

Often, people think that BlackRock, S&P 500, and Berkshire Hathaway are all companies that they can invest in to achieve their financial goals. However, that’s not the case. To avoid confusion, it is better for one to know the following key differences:

Berkshire HathawayS&P 500BlackRock
It is a conglomerate having subsidiaries in different sectors. Unlike Berkshire and BlackRock, it is a stock market index. It is a multinational investment company that allocates funds to different companies. 
There are two ticker symbols. One for class A shares (BRK-A) and another one for class B shares (BRK-B). Its ticker symbol is ^GSPC. BlackRock ticker symbol is BLK. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Do Berkshire Hathaway pay dividends?

No, it does not pay dividends because it prefers reinvesting all the earnings to achieve growth. That said, note that more than half of the stocks held in the company’s equity portfolio offer dividends.

2. Why Berkshire Hathaway stock is so expensive?

Some of the key reasons why this stock is so expensive are as follows:
– The company’s long-term success.
– Warren Buffet’s excellent leadership over the years.
– Investors’ confidence in the organization to maintain an impressive financial position.
– A diversified portfolio of businesses.

3. How many employees does Berkshire Hathaway have?

According to Statista, the total number of employees at Berkshire Hathaway was more than 382,000 in 2022. Considering that the company employed roughly 260,520 people in 2010, there has been a growth of over 120,000 employees over a duration of 12 years.

4. Should I buy Berkshire Hathaway stock?

While the company has a proven track record, whether or not one should purchase the stock depends on the following factors:
– The economic environment
– Investment time horizon
– Financial goals
– Risk appetite
– Available funds to invest
– Future growth potential
Additionally, one should conduct thorough research and analysis before investing.

This article has been a guide to what is Berkshire Hathaway. We explain how to invest in its stocks, its comparison with S&P 500 and BlackRock, and history. You may also find some useful articles here –

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