xDOWPartnershipLPs
1957-0.080.10.09
19580.270.560.44
19590.520.960.75
19600.431.41.07
19610.752.511.82
19620.6232.15
19630.954.543.11
19641.316.084.03
19651.649.435.88
19661.2311.567.04
19671.6516.069.32
19681.8626.114.03
S&P 500Book ValuePer-ShareShare Price196519691973197719811985198919931997200120052009201305,00010,00015,00020,000Multiples (X) Gain

Cumulative Partnership Returns vs DOW Indices (1957-1968)*
DOW
LPs
Partnership
Cumulative BRK-A Returns vs S&P 500 Indices**
S&P 500
Share Price
Book Value Per-Share
Buffett’s Partnership from 1957 to 1968 gain +31.65% on an annualized basis, beating DOW indices by more than +19% a year. Limited partners gain roughly +25% annually from the partnership, and a dollar invested in the beginning of 1957 becomes 15 dollars by the end of the 1968, with a gain of +1,403%.

Buffett’s growth in his own wealth exemplifies the power of compounding. Buffett only invests $100 in each of his 7 partnerships, but reinvests all of his performance fees: he launches Buffett Associates with $105,100 in May 1956, Buffett Fund with $120,100 in September 1956, Emdee with $55,100 in October 1956, Underwood with $85,100 in June 1957, Dacee with $100,100 in August 1957, Mo-Buff with $70,100 in May 1958, and Glenoff with $50,100 in Feb 1959. He merges all partnerships with Buffett Partnership in 1962, and by the time he decides to divest the partnership in 1969, his investments become $25 million.

Buffett’s wealth continues to grow exponentially during his time as Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway shares and book value per-share grow around +1,598,284% and +798,981% respectively from September 1965 to December 31, 2015, while S&P 500 grows by +11,355% from September 1965 to December 31, 2015. The returns from the BRK-A share is annualized at +21.6% during the period while the S&P 500 is annualized at +9.9%. Warren Buffet's net worth as of Q3 '14 stands at more than $65 billion.

*As shown in Buffett Partnership letter, January 1969
**As shown in 2015 BRK Annual Shareholder Letter

Charts

Buffett’s 7 Partnerships

Partnership Capital Invested (at inception) Date Established
Buffett Associates $105,100 5/1/1956
Buffett Fund $120,100 9/1/1956
Emdee $55,100 10/1/1956
Underwood $85,100 6/1/1957
Dacee $100,100 8/5/1957
Mo-Buff $70,100 5/1/1958
Glenoff $50,100 2/1/1959
Source: A Look at Buffett’s Original 7 Partnerships

Partnership Returns vs Indices

Year DOW (1) Partnership (2) LPs’ Return (3)
1957 -8.4% 10.4% 9.3%
1958 38.5% 40.9% 32.2%
1959 20.0% 25.9% 20.9%
1960 -6.2% 22.8% 18.6%
1961 22.4% 45.9% 35.9%
1962 -7.6% 13.9% 11.9%
1963 20.6% 38.7% 30.5%
1964 18.7% 27.8% 22.3%
1965 14.2% 47.2% 36.9%
1966 15.6% 20.4% 16.8%
1967 19.0% 35.9% 28.4%
1968 7.7% 58.8% 45.6%
Annualized Return 9.1% 31.6% 25.3%
(1) Based on yearly changes in the value of the Dow plus dividends.
(2) Returns for 1957-61 consists of combined results of all partnerships. Gross return, before distributions to LPs and the GP.
(3) Returns for 1957-61 consists of combined results of all partnerships. Net return, after allocation to the GP, but before monthly withdrawals by LPs.
Source: Buffett Partnership letter, January 1969

Investments Made During 2008 – 2011 (in $ billions)

Company Amount (in $ billions) Date
Mars/Wrigley $6.5 Oct-08
Goldman Sachs 5 Sep-08
Bank of America 5 Aug-11
General Electric 3 Oct-08
Dow Chemical 3 Apr-09
Swiss Re 2.8 Feb-09
Other 1.5
Total 26.8

Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Float

Year Float (in $ millions)
1970 $39
1980 237
1990 1,632
2000 27,871
2010 65,832
2014 83,921
Annualized Growth 19.05%
Source: Berkshire Hathaway 2014 Letter

Berkshire Hathaway Performance 1965-2015

Annual Percentage Change
Year in Per-Share Book Value of Berkshire in Per-Share Market Value of Berkshire in S&P with Dividends
1965 23.8% 49.5% 10.0%
1966 20.3% -3.4% -11.7%
1967 11% 13.3% 30.9%
1968 19% 77.8% 11.0%
1969 16.2% 19.4% -8.4%
1970 12% -4.6% 3.9%
1971 16.4% 80.5% 14.6%
1972 21.7% 8.1% 18.9%
1973 4.7% -2.5% -14.8%
1974 5.5% -48.7% -26.4%
1975 21.9% 2.5% 37.2%
1976 59.3% 129.3% 23.6%
1977 31.9% 46.8% -7.4%
1978 24% 14.5% 6.4%
1979 35.7% 102.5% 18.2%
1980 19.3% 32.8% 32.3%
1981 31.4% 31.8% -5.0%
1982 40% 38.4% 21.4%
1983 32.3% 69.0% 22.4%
1984 13.6% -2.7% 6.1%
1985 48.2% 93.7% 31.6%
1986 26.1% 14.2% 18.6%
1987 19.5% 4.6% 5.1%
1988 20.1% 59.3% 16.6%
1989 44.4% 84.6% 31.7%
1990 7.4% -23.1% -3.1%
1991 39.6% 35.6% 30.5%
1992 20.3% 29.8% 7.6%
1993 14.3% 38.9% 10.1%
1994 13.9% 25.0% 1.3%
1995 43.1% 57.4% 37.6%
1996 31.8% 6.2% 23.0%
1997 34.1% 34.9% 33.4%
1998 48.3% 52.2% 28.6%
1999 0.5% -19.9% 21.0%
2000 6.5% 26.6% -9.1%
2001 -6.2% 6.5% -11.9%
2002 10% -3.8% -22.1%
2003 21% 15.8% 28.7%
2004 10.5% 4.3% 10.9%
2005 6.4% 0.8% 4.9%
2006 18.4% 24.1% 15.8%
2007 11% 28.7% 5.5%
2008 -9.6% -31.8% -37.0%
2009 19.8% 2.7% 26.5%
2010 13% 21.4% 15.10%
2011 4.6% -4.7% 2.1%
2012 14.4% 16.8% 16.0%
2013 18.2% 32.7% 32.4%
2014 8.3% 27.0% 13.7%
2015 6.4% -12.5% 1.4%
Compounded Annual Gain 19.2% 20.8% 9.7%
Overall Gain 798,981% 1598,284% 11,355%
1. S&P numbers are pre-tax, whereas book value per-share numbers are after-tax.
Source: Berkshire Hathaway 2015 Letter

Warren Buffett's Potential Successors

"Well, the candidates are all internal. And I’ve said that they’re male at the present time, although that would not necessarily be the situation, in the future." (Interview with Fox Business Network)

Greg Abel - Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Abel worked closely with David Sokol for years for Berskhire Hathaway Energy (previously known as MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company). Sokol's resignation due to a controversial insider trading incident put Abel in the test, and he excelled. Bloomberg Business claims, "While Jain has been seen as a likely successor for years and Rose runs the largest single unit at Berkshire, Abel is a sleeper who’s seen as a rising star, and whose career speaks to a broader transition under way at the company." (Bloomberg)

Greg Abel: The Next Oracle of Omaha? (Bloomberg) Munger Praises Jain and Abel, Stoking Speculation About Warren Buffett's Successor (Bloomberg)

Howard Buffett

Howard Buffett is the middle son of Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett wants Howard Buffett to become the "guardian" of Berkshire Hathaway's culture as a non-executive chairman.

Warren Buffett's Interview on Howard Buffett (CBSNews)

Todd Combs - Investment Manager

Hired in 2010, Todd Combs (born in 1971) is considered one of the youngest potential successors of Warren Buffett. Before joining Berkshire, Combs ran a $400 million hedge fund in Greenwich and reportedly beat the S&P 500 three years in a row.

Todd Combs: Has Warren Buffett Found His Heir? (The Week)

Ajit Jain - Berkshire Hathaway's Reinsurance Businesses

Hired in 1985, Ajit Jain is an Indian born employee of Berkshire Hathaway who currently heads reinsurance businesses with float of $37 billion according to 2014 shareholder letter. Buffett also called his mind an "idea factory," praising his business acumen and the success of the reinsurance business.

Ajit Jain: Would He inherit Warren Buffett's Mantle? (South Asia Mail)

Tony Nicely - GEICO

Buffett wrote in his 2013 shareholder letter, "When I count my blessings, I count GEICO twice." Tony Nicely joined GEICO as a college student in 1961 as a clerk and has served as chairman, president, and CEO of GEICO since 1993. As his years at GEICO tell, he is now over 70 years old, which makes him less likely to be the successor of Warren Buffett.

Even if Warren Buffett's Successor Isn't Known, Geico's Might Be (Omaha.com)

Matt Rose - Burlington Northern Santa Fe

Matt Rose led BNSF as CEO as it was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, and now he is the Executive Chairman of BNSF. Buffett praised Rose in a letter to shareholders saying that "it [BNSF] has the additional virtue of being run by Matt Rose, whom we trust and admire." Considering that this was the largest acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, speculators believe that Buffett regarded Rose's leadership in BNSF very highly, thus putting Matt Rose in a possible Berkshire CEO-successor category.

Will Matt Rose Succeed Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway? (RailwayAge)

Ted Weschler - Investment Manager

Hired in 2011, Ted Weschler famously bid $2.6 million for charity lunches with Buffett twice. Weschler formerly ran a $4 billion (at peak) hedge fund in Charlottesville, VA and currently oversees another portfolio that is similar in size to Todd Combs'.

Ted Weschler: The Next Warren Buffett? (Bloomberg Businessweek) Buffett's Stock Pickers are Beating the Market (Forturne)

The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to giving most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The campaign specifically focuses on billionaires and was made public in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

“Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks (Berkshire Hathaway stock certificates) on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others.” (Givingpledge.org)

Buffett’s Associates

Daniel B. Burke - Capital Cities/ABC

With Capital Cities Chairman Tom Murphy, Daniel B. Burke spearheaded the $3.5 billion acquisition of ABC. Burke became president of ABC following the merger, running daily operations of the television network until his retirement in 1994. (Wiki)

WiKi: Daniel Burke Warren Buffett: How A Rowboat Beat An Ocean Liner (SmartCompany)

Tracy Britt Cool - Benjamin Moore, Johns Manville, Larson-Juhl and Oriental Trading

Tracy Britt Cool joined Berkshire Hathaway in 2009 after graduating from Harvard Business School at the age of 25. She quickly won over the trust of Buffett, who believes, "She thinks like I would." Cool is now a chairman of Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiaries, closely working with companies that need "help".

The Education of Warren Buffett’s protégé (Fortune) Meet Warren Buffett's Top Troubleshooter: Tracy Britt Cool (Bloomberg)

John Byrne - GEICO, White Mountains Insurance Group and Fireman's Fund

John Byrne is an insurance industry executive who was CEO of GEICO, White Mountains Insurance Group and Fireman's Fund. He also served as chairman of Overstock.com. He led GEICO’s turnaround and attracted the attention of investor Warren Buffett. Buffett has called Byrne the "Babe Ruth of insurance." (Wiki)

WiKi: John Byrne

David Dodd - Columbia University, Professional Investor

David Dodd was a close colleague of Benjamin Graham. Graham agreed to teach with the stipulation that someone take notes. Dodd, then a young instructor at Columbia, volunteered. Those transcriptions served as the basis for a 1934 book Security Analysis, which galvanized the concept of value investing. (Wiki)

WiKi: David Dodd David Dodd, 93, Dies; Professor of Business (Nytimes)

Philip Fisher - Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, American Investor

Philip Fisher founded Fisher & Co. in 1931. Although he began some fifty years before the name Silicon Valley became known, he specialized in innovative companies driven by research and development. He was not well-known to the public until he published his first book in 1958. Morningstar has called him "one of the great investors of all time." In his book "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits," Fisher said that the best time to sell a stock was "almost never." Perhaps the best-known of Fisher's followers is Warren Buffett, who has said on some occasions that "he is 85% Graham and 15% Fisher". (Wiki)

WiKi: Philip Arthur Fisher Philip A. Fisher, 1907-2004 (Forbes)

Bill Gates - Microsoft

In 2004, Bill Gates became a director of Berkshire Hathaway. Gates and his wife invited Joan Salwen to Seattle to speak about her family's charitable giving, and on December 9, 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed a commitment they called the "Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge." The pledge is a commitment by all three to donate at least half of their wealth over the course of time to charity. (Wiki)

WiKi: Bill Gates 3 Things Bill Gates Has Learned From Warren Buffett (CheatSheet)

Benjamin Graham - Columbia University, Value Investor

Benjamin Graham is considered the father of value investing, an investment approach he began teaching at Columbia Business School in 1928 and subsequently refined with David Dodd through various editions of their famous book: Security Analysis. Graham had many disciples in his lifetime, a number of whom went on to become successful investors themselves. Graham's most well-known disciples include Warren Buffett, William J. Ruane, Irving Kahn and Walter J. Schloss. Among others, Buffett, who credits Graham as grounding him with a sound intellectual investment framework, described him as the second most influential person in his life after his own father. (Wiki)

WiKi: Benjamin Graham Warren Buffett on Ben Graham (Youtube)

Tom Knapp - TBK (Tweedy, Browne and Knapp)

It was through Benjamin Graham that the original partners of Tweedy, Brown Company developed brokerage relationships with investment legends Walter Schloss and Warren Buffett and met Tom Knapp, who joined the firm in 1957 from Graham-Newman and led its conversion from broker to investor. (Wiki)

Wiki: The Superinvestors of Graham and Dodsville About Tweedy, Browne (Tweedy, Browne)

Jorge Paulo Lemann - Swiss-Brazilian Banker, 3G Capital

Jorge Paulo Lemann is a Swiss-Brazilian banker and the richest man in Brazil. Lemann is among the backers of 3G Capital. In September 2010, 3G launched a $4 billion bid, at a 45% premium over market, for all the stock of Burger King. Together with Berkshire Hathaway, 3G Capital acquired H. J. Heinz Company for $28 billion in 2013. Lemann and Buffett met when they served on the board of Gillette. (Wiki)

WiKi: Jorge Paulo Lemann Buffett: 'Lemann Is My Professor.' Brazil's Richest Owns Burger King, Budweiser, Heinz, and More (Forbes)

Marmon Group

Founded in 1953 by Jay and Robert Pritzker, Marmon has gradually acquired multiple companies that produce electrical components, industrial components, and transportation equipment. In 2007, Berkshire Hathaway bought a 60% stake in Marmon, and acquired the remaining 40% over the next five years.

Marmon Group (Wiki) Berkshire to Pay $4.5Billion for Pritzkers’ Marmon (Bloomberg)

William Ruane - Ruane Cunniff, Sequoia Fund

William Ruane met Warren Buffett at an investment seminar with value investing guru Benjamin Graham, and he and Buffett became lifelong friends. Buffett advised his investors to invest with Ruane after he had closed out his initial partnership as they both employed Graham's value investing techniques. Ruane founded his own investment firm, Ruane Cunniff, with partner Rick Cunniff in 1970, and in the same year they launched their flagship Sequoia Fund. Ruane's firm was renamed Ruane, Cunniff, and Goldfarb in 2004, when Robert Goldfarb became president. (Wiki)

WiKi: William Ruane Sequoia Fund Manager, Philanthropist William J. Ruane (Washingtonpost)

Walter Schloss - Value Investor

Walter Schloss did not attend college and was initially hired at the age of 18 as a runner on Wall Street in 1934. Schloss took investment courses taught by Benjamin Graham at the New York Stock Exchange Institute. One of his classmates was Gus Levy, the future chairman of Goldman Sachs. He eventually went to work for Graham in the Graham-Newman Partnership. (Wiki)

WiKi:Walther Schloss Walter Schloss, ‘Superinvestor’ Who Earned Praise From Buffett, Dies at 95 (Bloomberg)

Joseph Steinberg and Ian Cumming - Leucadia

Joseph Steinberg and Ian Cumming are the founders of Leucadia National Corporation. The firm's largest current investments include Jefferies and Fortescue Metals Group. The company was initially called a “baby Berkshire Hathaway” for their engagement in investments and operations. Leucadia and Berkshire Hathaway have a joint venture called Berkadia, a servicer of commercial mortgages. (Wiki)

WiKi: Leucadia National With Jefferies Deal, ' Baby Berkshire' Deviates From Buffett (DealBook)

Alice Schroeder - Author, Columnist, Morgan Stanley and Prudential

Alice Schroeder is an American author, columnist, former senior adviser to Morgan Stanley, and former Wall Street insurance analyst who now serves as an independent board member for Prudential plc. In October 2008, she published "The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life," which debuted as a New York Times bestseller. Schroeder met Warren Buffett in 1998 when Berkshire Hathaway acquired General Re, a stock she covered as an analyst. (Wiki)

WiKi: Alice Schroder The SNOWBALL Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (randomhouse)

Meryl Witmer - Eagle Capital Partners, Berkshire Hathaway

Meryl Witmer is a general partner at Eagle Capital Partners. On March 7, 2013, Witmer was appointed as Director of Berkshire Hathaway. (Wiki)

Meryl B. Witmer Bio (BusinessWeek) Buffett Adds Eagle Capital's Witmer to Board of Directors (Bloomberg)

Money Managers Who Have Won Buffett's Trust

Greg Alexander - Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb

Greg Alexander started working for Sequoia Fund in 1985. Buffett once advised his investors to invest with William Ruane as he closed out his partnerships. Ruane has praised Greg Alexander for his work during his time, and Buffett also seems to trust Alexander's investment acumen. However, we were not able to find too much information about Greg Alexander.

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb Investor Day May 2011 (Gurufocus)

Mark Byrne - Flagstone Capital Management (Formerly Known as West End Capital)

Buffett first invested in West End Capital Management in 1998, when Mark Byrne was starting up a fixed income fund. West End Capital is now called Flagstone Capital Management, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings where Mark Byrne serves as executive chairman.

Mark Byrne Profile (Forbes)Hedge Fund Firm Diversifying Clientele (Nytimes) Interview with David Brown, Chief Executive and Partner of Mark Byrne (Twst)

Seth Klarman - Baupost

Seth Klarman manages a $25 billion fund in Boston and has long been followed by large number of "value investors."

Buffett Anounces His Three Favorite Investors (Valuewalk) The Oracle of Boston (The Economist)

Li Lu - Himalaya Capital Management

Li Lu was born and raised in Tanshan, China. From 1998 to 2004, Lu managed both a hedge fund and a venture capital fund. In late 2004, he transformed the hedge fund into a long-only investment vehicle, LL Investment Partners, LP, which is currently focused on global investment opportunities. Charlie Munger is an investor of his fund and a “mentor and good friend” (in Lu’s own words). Lu has been known as the man who introduced the Chinese battery and auto maker BYD Company to Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. (Wiki)

WiKi: Li Lu Li Lu’s 2010 Lecture at Columbia (Street Capitalist) From Tiananmen Square to Possible Buffett Successor (WSJ) Li Lu Sharing His Value Investing Insights (Facebook)

Byron Trott - BDT Capital Partners

Byron Trott advised many of the wealthiest families and closely held companies in deals such as the $23 billion Mars-Wrigley combination, the Pritzker’s $4.5 billion sale of Marmon Holdings to Berkshire Hathaway, and the $5 billion capital infusion from Berkshire Hathaway into Goldman Sachs in September 2008 during the financial crisis. (Wiki) Buffett reportedly invested small amount of capital.

WiKi: Byron Trott Byron Trott of BDT Capital Partners Taps His Power Network (Washingtonpost) Power Network Draws Rich Families to Chicago Banker Byron Trott (Bloomberg) Goldman's Trott to Start Firm, With Backing From Buffett (WSJ)

Vanguard Index Fund

Buffett advised his trustee to "put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund (I suggest Vanguard's)."

Investors Pour Into Vanguard, Eschewing Stock Pickers (WSJ)
1930
Biography
Born in Omaha, Nebraska as the second child and only son in the three children household of U.S. congressman, Howard Buffett.
1941
Biography
Makes his first purchase of shares by buying shares of Cities Service Preferred. Shares fall to $27 but shortly climb back to $40. Warren and Doris (his sister) sell their stocks, and shortly after, the price hikes to over $200 per share.
1944
Biography
Files first income tax return with a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route.
1945
Biography
Purchases with a friend a used pinball machine for $25 and puts it in a barber shop for profit. Within months, he owns three machines in three locations. He later sells the business for $1,200 to a War Veteran.
1947
Biography
Enrolls at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce and joins the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.
1949
Biography
Transfers to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. His savings reach $9,800 by the time of graduation (over $96,000 inflation adjusted for the 2014 USD).
1951
Biography
Receives a Master of Science degree in Economics from Columbia University where two well-known security analysts, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, were teaching at the time.
Investment Timeline
Invests well over half of his net worth in GEICO. He buys 350 shares of GEICO at cost of $10,282 and sells them for $15,259 in 1952.
1952
Biography
Discovers that Benjamin Graham sits on the board of GEICO and takes a train to GEICO's headquarters in Washington, D.C. During this trip, he meets Lorimer Davidson, GEICO's Vice President, who becomes Buffett's life-long friend. After graduation, Buffett offers Graham to work for him for free, but his offer is turned down. He then goes back to Omaha and works as a stockbroker and teaches at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Later that year, Buffett marries Susan Thompson.
1954
Biography
Accepts a job at Benjamin Graham's partnership with a starting salary of $12,000 (approximately $105,000 inflation adjusted for the 2012 USD).
1955
Biography
Benjamin Graham, as he plans to retire, asks Buffett to work for the partnership as a junior partner.
1956
Biography
Benjamin Graham retires and closes his partnership, and Buffett returns to Omaha. Buffett's personal saving at the time amount to $174,000 ($1.47 million inflation adjusted to 2012 USD).
Partnership
On May 1, Buffett forms Buffett Associates, the first investment partnership under his own name with $105,100 from seven family members and friends. Terms of the partnership were as follows: investors received 4% interest on their money, and after the 4% hurdle, Buffet and limited partners shared the profit 50/50. In case of losses, Buffett paid 25% of the losses to investors personally. During 1956, the number of his partnerships grows to three.
1957
Best Trades
Purchases his current house for $31,500. A comparable home sold in his neighborhood today would be worth about $400,000.
1959
Biography
Meets Charlie Munger, who currently serves as Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
Biography
Buffett's $700 stake in his partnerships grows to $83,085, and he increases his ownership of the combined partnerships to roughly 9.5% by collecting performance fees.
1960
Partnership
Buffett is now managing a total of seven partnerships: Buffett Associates, Buffett Fund, Dacee, Emdee, Glenoff, Mo-Buff and Underwood.
1961
Investment Timeline
Reveals that Sanborn Map Company accounted for 35% of his partnerships' assets, explaining that in 1958, Sanborn stocks sold at $45 per share, $20 dollars cheaper than the company's investment portfolio of $65 per share. Buffett wins a board seat at the company.
1962
Partnership
Becomes a millionaire because of his partnerships, which in January 1962 had an excess of $7,178,500, of which over $1,025,000 belonged to Buffett. Buffett merges all partnerships into one entity, Buffett Partnerships, Ltd. Buffett would take 25% of any profits over 6% from this partnership.
Investment Timeline
Begins purchasing shares of Berkshire Hathaway, a textile manufacturing firm, from previous owner Seabury Stanton at $7.6 per share.
1964
Best Trades
Observes people using credit cards in their daily transactions and takes a close look at American Express' "salad oil scandal." The scandal costed the company approximately $58 million and drove the share price to fall to $35. Buffett recognizes this as an opportunity and changes his investment rules inside the partnership, raising the concentration limit on a single stock to 40%. In 1967, American Express hits over $180 per share, making $20 million in profit on a $13 million investment for his partnership. (Berkshire Hathaway holds about 151 million shares of AXP today, with a cost basis of $1.2 billion, which was valued at about $13.6 billion in September 2014)
1965
Investment Timeline
Begins purchasing Berkshire Hathaway aggressively. After taking over the control of the company, Buffett fires Seabury Stanton and names Ken Chace president of the company.
1967
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires an insurance company for the first time: National Indemnity Company and National Fire & Marien Insurance Company. Buffett's interest in insurance businesses was due to their ability to generate a large amount of cash at near-zero cost of capital, the insurance float, which allowed Berkshire Hathaway to access cheap leverage when investment opportunity arose.
1968
Partnership
The Buffett Partnership earns more than $40 million, increasing its total value to $104 million. During the period from 1957 to 1968, the Partnership returned a gross figure of +2610% and +1403% for Limited Partners.
1969
Partnership
Notifies his partners in a letter that he will be retiring from the investment partnership endeavor. He offers his partners options to maintain their proportional interests in three companies, one of them being Berkshire Hathaway.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Sun Newspapers, Blacker Printing Company and The Illinois National Bank & Trust Company.
1970
Worst Trades
The purchasing of Berkshire Hathaway (textile mill) may be one of the worst investments Buffett made during his time. Buffett began buying Berkshire Hathaway shares since 1962 and tried to sell the shares back to Seabury Stanton, the company president, at $13.5 each. However, when the written offer read $13.375, $.125 less than what they previously agreed on, Buffett decided to acquire the company. Buffett, utilizing his business and investment acumen, grew the company to #5 in Forbes' "Global 2000" companies list (May 2014).
Biography
Writes his first annual letter to shareholders as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, owning 29% of the stock outstanding.
Best Trades
Begins buying shares of GEICO and continues through 1970s and until 1981 to acquire a 30% stake of the firm with a cost basis of $45.7 million. GEICO buys back their shares and Berkshire Hathaway's stake grows to 51% by 1990s. During the dawn of 1996, Buffett strikes a deal to acquire the rest of the company for $2.3 billion. In 2009 Berkshire Hathaway annual report, Buffett notes that GEICO's market share had increased from 2.5% to 8.1% with float growing from $2.7 billion to $9.6 billion.
1971
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary National Indemnity Company acquires Home and Automobile Insurance Company.
1973
Best Trades
Begins purchasing shares of Washington Post Company (now Graham Holdings). By the end of the year, Buffett owns 1.7 million shares at a cost basis of $11 million. Buffett serves as a board member of the company for 37 years until 2011. In 2013, the investment paid out $17 million in dividends. Berkshire Hathaway reportedly swapped its shares of Graham Holdings to its shares of WPLG, a Miami-based television station, and cashed in a transaction worth about $1.1 billion in July 2014.
1974
Controversy
Started acquiring Wesco Financial shares since 1972 via Blue Chip with Charlie Munger. In 1973, the two break up a proposed acquisition of Wesco by Financial Corp and then acquire a majority stake in Wesco by 1975. The SEC investigates this deal (and Buffett's investment practices in general), and extracts a $115,000 payout from Blue Chip to Wesco shareholders.
1976
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway sells Clacker Printing Company.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary National Fire and Marine Insurance Company acquires Central Fire & Casualty Company.
1977
Investment Timeline
Berkshire subsidiary National Fire and Marine Insurance Company acquires Cypress Insurance Company.
Controversy
Finds himself the target of antitrust charges from the acquisition of Buffalo Evening News. Buffet and the Evening News eventually prevail, but it was a strenuous time and accusations were made that Buffett ignored "gentleman’s agreements" between other parties.
1978
Investment Timeline
Berkshire merges with Diversified Retailing Company and acquires Associated Retail Stores, Columbia Insurance Company, and Southern Casualty Insurance Company.
1979
Biography
Buffett is nominated for the Forbes 400 for the first time and reaches net worth of $620 million as Berkshire Hathaway ends the year trading at $1,310, rising from $775 at the beginning of the year.
Best Trades
Purchases 20 million shares of Capital Cities at a cost basis of $345 million. As reported in Berkshire Hathaway Annual report in 1996, “On January 4, 1996, shareholders of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. … and The Walt Disney Company … approved an agreement and plan of merger by and between Disney and Capital Cities. In March 1996, Berkshire received about 21 million shares of Disney common stock and $1.2 billion in cash in exchange for the common shares of Capital Cities.” Berkshire Hathaway exited the position in a transaction valued at around $2.2 billion.
1980
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway divests the Illinois National Bank & Trust Company as required by the 1969 Bank Holding Company Act via a stock exchange.
1983
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway merges with Blue Chip Stamps and acquires Nebraska Furniture Mart.
1984
Investment Timeline
Berkshire subsidiary National Indemnity Company merges with Texas United Insurance Company and Southern Casualty Insurance Company.
1985
Best Trades
Helps finance Capital Cities’ deal with ABC in return for a 25% stake in the combined company. On March 18, Capital Cities announces $3.5 billion purchase of ABC and surprises the media industry, as ABC was four times larger than Capital Cities at the time.
Biography
Pitches to shareholders to come to Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting. After noting that many of other companies' annual meetings are useless, he mentions that their annual meeting will prove to be worthwhile, for qualified participants will ask "a wide variety of thoughtful questions."
1986
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Scott Fetzer Company and Fechheimer Brothers Company.
1987
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases a 12% stake in Salomon Inc., making Berkshire Hathaway the largest shareholder and Buffett, the director.
1988
Best Trades
Begins purchasing Coca Cola. Amid concerns of many Wall Street analysts, who believe that Coca Cola's market share will stagnate or drop due to competition, declined earnings (-2% from the previous year), and relatively high valuation (P/E ratio of between 14 and 19), Buffett continues to acquire shares of Coca Cola. By 1995, Buffett owns 100,000 shares with a cost basis of $1.2 billion. By September 2014, the unrealized gains mounted up to more than $15 billion.
1989
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Borsheim's Jewelry.
Best Trades
Becomes Gillette's largest shareholder with $600 million investment in Gillette preferred: 8.75% dividend, mandatory redemption in 10 years, and the rights to convert into common at $50 a share. In 1995, with the announcement of P&G's $57 billion deal to buy Gillette, Buffett profits about $645 million in one day and gains roughly $4.4 billion in total without taking dividend payouts into account.
Worst Trades
Buys preferred stock in U.S. Air attracted to high revenue growth. The investment, however, turns sour as U.S. Air cash flow dries up and stops paying its dividends. Even though Berkshire Hathaway eventually made money on the investment, U.S Air almost went bankrupt. Buffett later notes in his 2007 letter that some businesses look appealing in terms of revenue growth but require large capital and are susceptible to bankruptcy in case of revenue decline or economic downturn. He quips, “How do you become a millionaire? Make a billion dollars and then buy an airline."
1990
Biography
Becomes a billionaire when Berkshire begins selling class A shares with the market closing at US $7,175 a share.
Controversy
Had acquired a 12% stake in Salomon Brothers in 1987. In 1990, a rogue trader gets accused of submitting bids in excess of Treasury rules and the U.S. government puts pressure on Salomon. Buffett quickly steps in and lifts a ban on Salomon's bidding in government bond auctions. He also steps in to run the bank for some time, and, despite a $290 million fine, Berkshire Hathaway ultimately sees its stake more than double when Travelers buys Salomon in 1997.
1991
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires H. H. Brown.
1993
Worst Trades
Invests in Dexter Shoe Co. as he sees a "durable competitive advantage," but the advantage vanishes within a few years. Dexter eventually closes its shoe production in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2001 and the investment turns sour, causing Berkshire Hathaway a total loss of $3.5 billion.
1995
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Helzberg's Diamond Shops and R.C. Willey Home Furnishings.
1996
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires GEICO and it becomes a 100% owned Berkshire subsidiary. Berkshire Hathaway also acquires Flight Safety International.
1998
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Executive Jet (later renamed NetJets) and General Re.
1999
Biography
Speaks at the famous summer gathering in Sun Vallley, Idaho at the Allen & Co conference delivering a message that there is no "new paradigm," referring to the high flying Technology, Media and Telecom stocks. The paradigm soon proves to be a bubble in less than a year.
2000
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires MidAmerican Energy and Ben Bridge Jeweler.
2001
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires CORT Business Services, Justin Industries, Shaw Industries, Benjamin Moore & Company, Johns Manville, MiTek in conjunction with MiTek management, and XTRA.
2002
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Larson-Juhl, Fruit of the Loom, Garan, and The Pampered Chef.
Best Trades
Buys 1.3% of PetroChina as Charlie Munger and Buffett think the company is significantly undervalued. In 2007, due to rising oil prices and PetroChina’s expanding its oil and gas reserves, the market value of the company skyrockets. Buffett decides to sell the stock in 2008, and realizes $3.6 Billion in profit.
Biography
Became involved with Maurice R. Greenberg at AIG in 2002 and Gen Re provided reinsurance.
Investment Timeline
Enters in $11 billion worth of forward contracts to deliver U.S. dollars against other currencies. By April 2006, his total gain on these contracts was over $2 billion.
2003
Best Trades
Buys McLane, a wholesale distribution business of WalMart, for $1.45 billion. McLane outperforms the market throughout the financial crisis of 2007, as Buffett proudly notes in his 2009 annual report. McLane eventually doubles its earnings by 2012 and continuously expands profit margins.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Clayton Homes.
2005
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Forest River.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Shaw Industries acquires Honeywell International.
Controversy
An investigation is mounted surrounding an accounting fraud involving AIG. A number of Gen Re executives were implicated as well.
2006
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Business Wire, Applied Underwriters, Iscar Metalworking Companies, and Southern Energy Homes.
Biography
Announces that he will give away 85% of his Berkshire Hathaway holdings to five foundations in a form of annual gifts, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution will be to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Controversy
Agrees to pay a $92 million settlement due to the Gen Re incident and promises changes to corporate governance practices.
Worst Trades
Berkshire Hathaway invests in British grocery retailer Tesco, seeing potential growth in the company. Buffett initially invests $2.35 billion in Tesco for a 5.2% stake in the company by 2007. Even though he decreases his stake to 3.7% by 2013, Buffett ignores further profit warnings and loses $444 million from his investment by the time he divests all of Tesco’s shares throughout 2014.
2007
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Boat America Corporation and TTI Inc.
Biography
In a letter to shareholders, Buffett announces that he is looking for a younger successor or successors to run his investment business. Buffett had previously selected Lou Simpson, who ran investments for GEICO before leaving in 2011. But Simpson is only six years younger than Buffett and now runs a Hedge Fund based in Florida.
Worst Trades
Invests $2 billion in Energy Future Holdings, a Texas power company, expecting a rise in energy prices, but the national shale gas boom in 2011 and 2012 causes an enormous drop in natural gas prices. The power company files for bankruptcy, and Berkshire Hathaway incurs $873 million pre-tax losses from this investment.
2008
Biography
Buffett bets $1 million donation to a charity that the S&P 500 will outperform portfolio of funds of hedge funds during the ten-year period (1/1/2008 - 12/31/2017), and Protege Partners challenged the bet by choosing 5 funds of funds.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Marmon Holdings.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Forest River acquires Coachmen Industries.
Biography
Writes an opinion piece published in the New York Times saying, "Buy American. I am." Berkshire suffered a 77% drop in earnings during Q3 '08, and several of his later deals suffered large mark-to-market losses.
Best Trades
Although Buffett is famous for refraining from investing in tech companies, he buys 225 million shares (or 9.9% stake) of BYD, a Chinese battery company that produces environment-friendly cars. The unrealized gain on this investment is reported to be as much as $1.8 billion.
Biography
Becomes the richest person in the world. Net worth was estimated during Q1 '08 at $62 billion by Forbes and at $58 billion by Yahoo.
Investment Timeline
Agrees to buy General Electric preferred stock. The terms of the preferred were an option to buy $3 billion of GE stock at $22.25 over the five years following the agreement and 10% dividend (callable within three years).
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires 10% perpetual preferred stock of Goldman Sachs. Some of Buffett's index put options (European exercise at expiry only) that he wrote (sold) were at around $6.73 billion mark-to-market losses as of late 2008.
Worst Trades
Starts buying a large stake in the stock of Conoco Philips (COP) as part of a speculation on future energy prices. The investment, however, turned sour as soon as oil price dropped from its peak. Crude oil price was well over $100/barrel before the crisis, and the price still hasn't recovered to its prior peak. During 2008, when the S&P fell 38%, Conoco Phillips fell 41% (Exxonmobil -15%), resulting in huge losses. Berkshire Hathaway started divesting this investment in 2009 to free up capital for other investments.
2009
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Shaw Industries acquires Sportexe.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Cavalier Homes.
Investment Timeline
Invests $2.6 billion as a part of Swiss Re's campaign to raise equity capital.
Best Trades
Assists the Dow Chemical Company with the acquisition of Rohm & Haas with $3 billion in 2009. Through this transaction and through his acquisition of Series A cumulative convertible perpetual preferred DOW stock, Buffett becomes the single largest shareholder of the company. The preferred stock has a 8.5% annualized yield, and Buffett has not yet converted the preferred into common stocks in order to maintain a steady flow of dividends.
Best Trades
Invests $34 billion cash and stock in Burlington Northern Santa Fe expecting the American economy to rebound after the financial crisis of 2007. Despite the slow recovery of the economy, BNSF's financials surpass its peers' and the general market's.
Biography
Sells some of the Procter & Gamble Co. and Johnson & Johnson shares from his portfolio.
Biography
Measured by market capitalization in the Financial Times Global 500, Berkshire Hathaway becomes the eighteenth largest corporation in the world.
2010
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary McLane Company acquires Kahn Ventures.
Biography
Claiming, "Very, very few people could appreciate the bubble. That's the nature of bubbles--they're mass delusions," Buffett defends the credit-rating agencies for their role in the US financial crisis.
2011
Investment Timeline
Goldman Sachs was given the Federal Reserve's approval to buy back Berkshire's preferred stock in GS.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Lubrizol for $9.7 billion.
Controversy
Announces that David Sokol, a Berkshire Hathaway executive, bought thousands of shares of Lubrizol two months before Berkshire announced a $9 billion deal for the company.
Investment Timeline
Buys 64 million shares (worth $11 billion) of IBM and becomes one of its largest shareholders.
2012
Investment Timeline
Announces the acquisition of 63 newspapers from Media General, the south-eastern U.S. broadcasting company.
2013
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases H. J. Heinz for $28 billion with 3G Capital.
2014
Biography
Calls Coca-Cola's compensation plan excessive but does not vote against it.
Biography
Berkshire Hathaway's class A shares hit the price of $200,000 a share for the first time, and the market-cap rises to $328 billion. While Buffett donated much of his shares to charities, he still owns 321,000 shares which are worth around $65 billion.
Investment Timeline
3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway bid $12.5 billion to buy Tim Hortons.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agrees to acquire the Van Tuyl Group, expanding the firm’s influence into the auto industry. Van Tuyl will be renamed as Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and will move its headquarters from Phoenix to Dallas.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agrees to acquire Procter & Gamble Co's Duracell battery unit with $4.7 billion of P&G Shares.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiary Lubrizol purchases $825 million of engineered chemistry and drilling fluids businesses from Weatherford International. Warren Buffet claims such acquisitions are of high priority for the firm.
2015
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway expands into the European market by acquiring German motorcycle apparel retailer Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs for $452 million. Buffett states his interest in continuing to buy companies in Germany because of the country’s strong regulatory system.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital agrees to acquire 51% of Kraft through a merger between Kraft and Heinz.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire agrees to purchase $560 million of stock in Axalta Coating Systems from subsidiaries of The Carlyle Group.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases $388 million stake in Insurance Australia Group (IAG), as part of a move to expand in the region.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Portland-based aerospace company, Precision Castparts (PCC), for $37.2 billion in cash.

1930
Biography
Born in Omaha, Nebraska as the second child and only son in the three children household of U.S. congressman, Howard Buffett.
1941
Biography
Makes his first purchase of shares by buying shares of Cities Service Preferred. Shares fall to $27 but shortly climb back to $40. Warren and Doris (his sister) sell their stocks, and shortly after, the price hikes to over $200 per share.
1944
Biography
Files first income tax return with a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route.
1945
Biography
Purchases with a friend a used pinball machine for $25 and puts it in a barber shop for profit. Within months, he owns three machines in three locations. He later sells the business for $1,200 to a War Veteran.
1947
Biography
Enrolls at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce and joins the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.
1949
Biography
Transfers to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. His savings reach $9,800 by the time of graduation (over $96,000 inflation adjusted for the 2014 USD).
1951
Biography
Receives a Master of Science degree in Economics from Columbia University where two well-known security analysts, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, were teaching at the time.
Investment Timeline
Invests well over half of his net worth in GEICO. He buys 350 shares of GEICO at cost of $10,282 and sells them for $15,259 in 1952.
1952
Biography
Discovers that Benjamin Graham sits on the board of GEICO and takes a train to GEICO's headquarters in Washington, D.C. During this trip, he meets Lorimer Davidson, GEICO's Vice President, who becomes Buffett's life-long friend. After graduation, Buffett offers Graham to work for him for free, but his offer is turned down. He then goes back to Omaha and works as a stockbroker and teaches at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Later that year, Buffett marries Susan Thompson.
1954
Biography
Accepts a job at Benjamin Graham's partnership with a starting salary of $12,000 (approximately $105,000 inflation adjusted for the 2012 USD).
1955
Biography
Benjamin Graham, as he plans to retire, asks Buffett to work for the partnership as a junior partner.
1956
Biography
Benjamin Graham retires and closes his partnership, and Buffett returns to Omaha. Buffett's personal saving at the time amount to $174,000 ($1.47 million inflation adjusted to 2012 USD).
Partnership
On May 1, Buffett forms Buffett Associates, the first investment partnership under his own name with $105,100 from seven family members and friends. Terms of the partnership were as follows: investors received 4% interest on their money, and after the 4% hurdle, Buffet and limited partners shared the profit 50/50. In case of losses, Buffett paid 25% of the losses to investors personally. During 1956, the number of his partnerships grows to three.
1957
Best Trades
Purchases his current house for $31,500. A comparable home sold in his neighborhood today would be worth about $400,000.
1959
Biography
Meets Charlie Munger, who currently serves as Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
Biography
Buffett's $700 stake in his partnerships grows to $83,085, and he increases his ownership of the combined partnerships to roughly 9.5% by collecting performance fees.
1960
Partnership
Buffett is now managing a total of seven partnerships: Buffett Associates, Buffett Fund, Dacee, Emdee, Glenoff, Mo-Buff and Underwood.
1961
Investment Timeline
Reveals that Sanborn Map Company accounted for 35% of his partnerships' assets, explaining that in 1958, Sanborn stocks sold at $45 per share, $20 dollars cheaper than the company's investment portfolio of $65 per share. Buffett wins a board seat at the company.
1962
Partnership
Becomes a millionaire because of his partnerships, which in January 1962 had an excess of $7,178,500, of which over $1,025,000 belonged to Buffett. Buffett merges all partnerships into one entity, Buffett Partnerships, Ltd. Buffett would take 25% of any profits over 6% from this partnership.
Investment Timeline
Begins purchasing shares of Berkshire Hathaway, a textile manufacturing firm, from previous owner Seabury Stanton at $7.6 per share.
1964
Best Trades
Observes people using credit cards in their daily transactions and takes a close look at American Express' "salad oil scandal." The scandal costed the company approximately $58 million and drove the share price to fall to $35. Buffett recognizes this as an opportunity and changes his investment rules inside the partnership, raising the concentration limit on a single stock to 40%. In 1967, American Express hits over $180 per share, making $20 million in profit on a $13 million investment for his partnership. (Berkshire Hathaway holds about 151 million shares of AXP today, with a cost basis of $1.2 billion, which was valued at about $13.6 billion in September 2014)
1965
Investment Timeline
Begins purchasing Berkshire Hathaway aggressively. After taking over the control of the company, Buffett fires Seabury Stanton and names Ken Chace president of the company.
1967
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires an insurance company for the first time: National Indemnity Company and National Fire & Marien Insurance Company. Buffett's interest in insurance businesses was due to their ability to generate a large amount of cash at near-zero cost of capital, the insurance float, which allowed Berkshire Hathaway to access cheap leverage when investment opportunity arose.
1968
Partnership
The Buffett Partnership earns more than $40 million, increasing its total value to $104 million. During the period from 1957 to 1968, the Partnership returned a gross figure of +2610% and +1403% for Limited Partners.
1969
Partnership
Notifies his partners in a letter that he will be retiring from the investment partnership endeavor. He offers his partners options to maintain their proportional interests in three companies, one of them being Berkshire Hathaway.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Sun Newspapers, Blacker Printing Company and The Illinois National Bank & Trust Company.
1970
Worst Trades
The purchasing of Berkshire Hathaway (textile mill) may be one of the worst investments Buffett made during his time. Buffett began buying Berkshire Hathaway shares since 1962 and tried to sell the shares back to Seabury Stanton, the company president, at $13.5 each. However, when the written offer read $13.375, $.125 less than what they previously agreed on, Buffett decided to acquire the company. Buffett, utilizing his business and investment acumen, grew the company to #5 in Forbes' "Global 2000" companies list (May 2014).
Biography
Writes his first annual letter to shareholders as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, owning 29% of the stock outstanding.
Best Trades
Begins buying shares of GEICO and continues through 1970s and until 1981 to acquire a 30% stake of the firm with a cost basis of $45.7 million. GEICO buys back their shares and Berkshire Hathaway's stake grows to 51% by 1990s. During the dawn of 1996, Buffett strikes a deal to acquire the rest of the company for $2.3 billion. In 2009 Berkshire Hathaway annual report, Buffett notes that GEICO's market share had increased from 2.5% to 8.1% with float growing from $2.7 billion to $9.6 billion.
1971
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary National Indemnity Company acquires Home and Automobile Insurance Company.
1973
Best Trades
Begins purchasing shares of Washington Post Company (now Graham Holdings). By the end of the year, Buffett owns 1.7 million shares at a cost basis of $11 million. Buffett serves as a board member of the company for 37 years until 2011. In 2013, the investment paid out $17 million in dividends. Berkshire Hathaway reportedly swapped its shares of Graham Holdings to its shares of WPLG, a Miami-based television station, and cashed in a transaction worth about $1.1 billion in July 2014.
1974
Controversy
Started acquiring Wesco Financial shares since 1972 via Blue Chip with Charlie Munger. In 1973, the two break up a proposed acquisition of Wesco by Financial Corp and then acquire a majority stake in Wesco by 1975. The SEC investigates this deal (and Buffett's investment practices in general), and extracts a $115,000 payout from Blue Chip to Wesco shareholders.
1976
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway sells Clacker Printing Company.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary National Fire and Marine Insurance Company acquires Central Fire & Casualty Company.
1977
Investment Timeline
Berkshire subsidiary National Fire and Marine Insurance Company acquires Cypress Insurance Company.
Controversy
Finds himself the target of antitrust charges from the acquisition of Buffalo Evening News. Buffet and the Evening News eventually prevail, but it was a strenuous time and accusations were made that Buffett ignored "gentleman’s agreements" between other parties.
1978
Investment Timeline
Berkshire merges with Diversified Retailing Company and acquires Associated Retail Stores, Columbia Insurance Company, and Southern Casualty Insurance Company.
1979
Biography
Buffett is nominated for the Forbes 400 for the first time and reaches net worth of $620 million as Berkshire Hathaway ends the year trading at $1,310, rising from $775 at the beginning of the year.
Best Trades
Purchases 20 million shares of Capital Cities at a cost basis of $345 million. As reported in Berkshire Hathaway Annual report in 1996, “On January 4, 1996, shareholders of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. … and The Walt Disney Company … approved an agreement and plan of merger by and between Disney and Capital Cities. In March 1996, Berkshire received about 21 million shares of Disney common stock and $1.2 billion in cash in exchange for the common shares of Capital Cities.” Berkshire Hathaway exited the position in a transaction valued at around $2.2 billion.
1980
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway divests the Illinois National Bank & Trust Company as required by the 1969 Bank Holding Company Act via a stock exchange.
1983
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway merges with Blue Chip Stamps and acquires Nebraska Furniture Mart.
1984
Investment Timeline
Berkshire subsidiary National Indemnity Company merges with Texas United Insurance Company and Southern Casualty Insurance Company.
1985
Best Trades
Helps finance Capital Cities’ deal with ABC in return for a 25% stake in the combined company. On March 18, Capital Cities announces $3.5 billion purchase of ABC and surprises the media industry, as ABC was four times larger than Capital Cities at the time.
Biography
Pitches to shareholders to come to Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting. After noting that many of other companies' annual meetings are useless, he mentions that their annual meeting will prove to be worthwhile, for qualified participants will ask "a wide variety of thoughtful questions."
1986
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Scott Fetzer Company and Fechheimer Brothers Company.
1987
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases a 12% stake in Salomon Inc., making Berkshire Hathaway the largest shareholder and Buffett, the director.
1988
Best Trades
Begins purchasing Coca Cola. Amid concerns of many Wall Street analysts, who believe that Coca Cola's market share will stagnate or drop due to competition, declined earnings (-2% from the previous year), and relatively high valuation (P/E ratio of between 14 and 19), Buffett continues to acquire shares of Coca Cola. By 1995, Buffett owns 100,000 shares with a cost basis of $1.2 billion. By September 2014, the unrealized gains mounted up to more than $15 billion.
1989
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Borsheim's Jewelry.
Best Trades
Becomes Gillette's largest shareholder with $600 million investment in Gillette preferred: 8.75% dividend, mandatory redemption in 10 years, and the rights to convert into common at $50 a share. In 1995, with the announcement of P&G's $57 billion deal to buy Gillette, Buffett profits about $645 million in one day and gains roughly $4.4 billion in total without taking dividend payouts into account.
Worst Trades
Buys preferred stock in U.S. Air attracted to high revenue growth. The investment, however, turns sour as U.S. Air cash flow dries up and stops paying its dividends. Even though Berkshire Hathaway eventually made money on the investment, U.S Air almost went bankrupt. Buffett later notes in his 2007 letter that some businesses look appealing in terms of revenue growth but require large capital and are susceptible to bankruptcy in case of revenue decline or economic downturn. He quips, “How do you become a millionaire? Make a billion dollars and then buy an airline."
1990
Biography
Becomes a billionaire when Berkshire begins selling class A shares with the market closing at US $7,175 a share.
Controversy
Had acquired a 12% stake in Salomon Brothers in 1987. In 1990, a rogue trader gets accused of submitting bids in excess of Treasury rules and the U.S. government puts pressure on Salomon. Buffett quickly steps in and lifts a ban on Salomon's bidding in government bond auctions. He also steps in to run the bank for some time, and, despite a $290 million fine, Berkshire Hathaway ultimately sees its stake more than double when Travelers buys Salomon in 1997.
1991
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires H. H. Brown.
1993
Worst Trades
Invests in Dexter Shoe Co. as he sees a "durable competitive advantage," but the advantage vanishes within a few years. Dexter eventually closes its shoe production in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2001 and the investment turns sour, causing Berkshire Hathaway a total loss of $3.5 billion.
1995
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Helzberg's Diamond Shops and R.C. Willey Home Furnishings.
1996
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires GEICO and it becomes a 100% owned Berkshire subsidiary. Berkshire Hathaway also acquires Flight Safety International.
1998
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Executive Jet (later renamed NetJets) and General Re.
1999
Biography
Speaks at the famous summer gathering in Sun Vallley, Idaho at the Allen & Co conference delivering a message that there is no "new paradigm," referring to the high flying Technology, Media and Telecom stocks. The paradigm soon proves to be a bubble in less than a year.
2000
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires MidAmerican Energy and Ben Bridge Jeweler.
2001
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires CORT Business Services, Justin Industries, Shaw Industries, Benjamin Moore & Company, Johns Manville, MiTek in conjunction with MiTek management, and XTRA.
2002
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Larson-Juhl, Fruit of the Loom, Garan, and The Pampered Chef.
Best Trades
Buys 1.3% of PetroChina as Charlie Munger and Buffett think the company is significantly undervalued. In 2007, due to rising oil prices and PetroChina’s expanding its oil and gas reserves, the market value of the company skyrockets. Buffett decides to sell the stock in 2008, and realizes $3.6 Billion in profit.
Biography
Became involved with Maurice R. Greenberg at AIG in 2002 and Gen Re provided reinsurance.
Investment Timeline
Enters in $11 billion worth of forward contracts to deliver U.S. dollars against other currencies. By April 2006, his total gain on these contracts was over $2 billion.
2003
Best Trades
Buys McLane, a wholesale distribution business of WalMart, for $1.45 billion. McLane outperforms the market throughout the financial crisis of 2007, as Buffett proudly notes in his 2009 annual report. McLane eventually doubles its earnings by 2012 and continuously expands profit margins.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Clayton Homes.
2005
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Forest River.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Shaw Industries acquires Honeywell International.
Controversy
An investigation is mounted surrounding an accounting fraud involving AIG. A number of Gen Re executives were implicated as well.
2006
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Business Wire, Applied Underwriters, Iscar Metalworking Companies, and Southern Energy Homes.
Biography
Announces that he will give away 85% of his Berkshire Hathaway holdings to five foundations in a form of annual gifts, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution will be to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Controversy
Agrees to pay a $92 million settlement due to the Gen Re incident and promises changes to corporate governance practices.
Worst Trades
Berkshire Hathaway invests in British grocery retailer Tesco, seeing potential growth in the company. Buffett initially invests $2.35 billion in Tesco for a 5.2% stake in the company by 2007. Even though he decreases his stake to 3.7% by 2013, Buffett ignores further profit warnings and loses $444 million from his investment by the time he divests all of Tesco’s shares throughout 2014.
2007
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Boat America Corporation and TTI Inc.
Biography
In a letter to shareholders, Buffett announces that he is looking for a younger successor or successors to run his investment business. Buffett had previously selected Lou Simpson, who ran investments for GEICO before leaving in 2011. But Simpson is only six years younger than Buffett and now runs a Hedge Fund based in Florida.
Worst Trades
Invests $2 billion in Energy Future Holdings, a Texas power company, expecting a rise in energy prices, but the national shale gas boom in 2011 and 2012 causes an enormous drop in natural gas prices. The power company files for bankruptcy, and Berkshire Hathaway incurs $873 million pre-tax losses from this investment.
2008
Biography
Buffett bets $1 million donation to a charity that the S&P 500 will outperform portfolio of funds of hedge funds during the ten-year period (1/1/2008 - 12/31/2017), and Protege Partners challenged the bet by choosing 5 funds of funds.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Marmon Holdings.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Forest River acquires Coachmen Industries.
Biography
Writes an opinion piece published in the New York Times saying, "Buy American. I am." Berkshire suffered a 77% drop in earnings during Q3 '08, and several of his later deals suffered large mark-to-market losses.
Best Trades
Although Buffett is famous for refraining from investing in tech companies, he buys 225 million shares (or 9.9% stake) of BYD, a Chinese battery company that produces environment-friendly cars. The unrealized gain on this investment is reported to be as much as $1.8 billion.
Biography
Becomes the richest person in the world. Net worth was estimated during Q1 '08 at $62 billion by Forbes and at $58 billion by Yahoo.
Investment Timeline
Agrees to buy General Electric preferred stock. The terms of the preferred were an option to buy $3 billion of GE stock at $22.25 over the five years following the agreement and 10% dividend (callable within three years).
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires 10% perpetual preferred stock of Goldman Sachs. Some of Buffett's index put options (European exercise at expiry only) that he wrote (sold) were at around $6.73 billion mark-to-market losses as of late 2008.
Worst Trades
Starts buying a large stake in the stock of Conoco Philips (COP) as part of a speculation on future energy prices. The investment, however, turned sour as soon as oil price dropped from its peak. Crude oil price was well over $100/barrel before the crisis, and the price still hasn't recovered to its prior peak. During 2008, when the S&P fell 38%, Conoco Phillips fell 41% (Exxonmobil -15%), resulting in huge losses. Berkshire Hathaway started divesting this investment in 2009 to free up capital for other investments.
2009
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Shaw Industries acquires Sportexe.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Cavalier Homes.
Investment Timeline
Invests $2.6 billion as a part of Swiss Re's campaign to raise equity capital.
Best Trades
Assists the Dow Chemical Company with the acquisition of Rohm & Haas with $3 billion in 2009. Through this transaction and through his acquisition of Series A cumulative convertible perpetual preferred DOW stock, Buffett becomes the single largest shareholder of the company. The preferred stock has a 8.5% annualized yield, and Buffett has not yet converted the preferred into common stocks in order to maintain a steady flow of dividends.
Best Trades
Invests $34 billion cash and stock in Burlington Northern Santa Fe expecting the American economy to rebound after the financial crisis of 2007. Despite the slow recovery of the economy, BNSF's financials surpass its peers' and the general market's.
Biography
Sells some of the Procter & Gamble Co. and Johnson & Johnson shares from his portfolio.
Biography
Measured by market capitalization in the Financial Times Global 500, Berkshire Hathaway becomes the eighteenth largest corporation in the world.
2010
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary McLane Company acquires Kahn Ventures.
Biography
Claiming, "Very, very few people could appreciate the bubble. That's the nature of bubbles--they're mass delusions," Buffett defends the credit-rating agencies for their role in the US financial crisis.
2011
Investment Timeline
Goldman Sachs was given the Federal Reserve's approval to buy back Berkshire's preferred stock in GS.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway acquires Lubrizol for $9.7 billion.
Controversy
Announces that David Sokol, a Berkshire Hathaway executive, bought thousands of shares of Lubrizol two months before Berkshire announced a $9 billion deal for the company.
Investment Timeline
Buys 64 million shares (worth $11 billion) of IBM and becomes one of its largest shareholders.
2012
Investment Timeline
Announces the acquisition of 63 newspapers from Media General, the south-eastern U.S. broadcasting company.
2013
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases H. J. Heinz for $28 billion with 3G Capital.
2014
Biography
Calls Coca-Cola's compensation plan excessive but does not vote against it.
Biography
Berkshire Hathaway's class A shares hit the price of $200,000 a share for the first time, and the market-cap rises to $328 billion. While Buffett donated much of his shares to charities, he still owns 321,000 shares which are worth around $65 billion.
Investment Timeline
3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway bid $12.5 billion to buy Tim Hortons.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agrees to acquire the Van Tuyl Group, expanding the firm’s influence into the auto industry. Van Tuyl will be renamed as Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and will move its headquarters from Phoenix to Dallas.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agrees to acquire Procter & Gamble Co's Duracell battery unit with $4.7 billion of P&G Shares.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiary Lubrizol purchases $825 million of engineered chemistry and drilling fluids businesses from Weatherford International. Warren Buffet claims such acquisitions are of high priority for the firm.
2015
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway expands into the European market by acquiring German motorcycle apparel retailer Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs for $452 million. Buffett states his interest in continuing to buy companies in Germany because of the country’s strong regulatory system.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital agrees to acquire 51% of Kraft through a merger between Kraft and Heinz.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire agrees to purchase $560 million of stock in Axalta Coating Systems from subsidiaries of The Carlyle Group.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway purchases $388 million stake in Insurance Australia Group (IAG), as part of a move to expand in the region.
Investment Timeline
Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Portland-based aerospace company, Precision Castparts (PCC), for $37.2 billion in cash.