< HOME  Sunday, May 07, 2006

Buffet Bails Out of Dollars and Into Israel

We must be in for some heavy rain. Buffet's building an ark.
U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett plans further investments in Israel following his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s purchase of 80 percent of Iscar Metalworking Cos., Israeli newspapers reported on Sunday.

* * *

Buffett's purchase of Iscar for $4 billion was one of the largest deals involving an Israeli company and Buffett's biggest investment outside the United States.

Buffett will visit Israel in September to inspect his investment and examine the local business scene, Maariv quoted him as saying.

* * *

The deal was also a windfall for the Israeli government, which would reap around $1 billion in taxes, according to local newspapers.

* * *

Maariv said Buffett had not yet visited Iscar's headquarters in northern Israel. "But I have met the managers and I am sure they are excellent people," he was quoted as saying.
He paid $4 billion to buy a company whose headquarters he never visited?
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth daily quoted Buffett as saying he did not plan to take Iscar public or transfer its activities from Israel.

"I believe in the Israeli market and the Israeli economy and I think now is a good time to invest here," the paper quoted him as saying.

Buffett said he had consulted with Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, a member of Berkshire's board, before making the company's biggest investment outside the United States.
Such a big purchase in such a small country; and of all times to invest in Israel - as the Middle East comes to a boil. He's gotta know something we don't know.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Saturday hailed the Berkshire buy as a "great boon to the Israeli economy."

Maariv quoted Iscar Chairman Eitan Wertheimer as saying the family wanted "a strategic investor that would take Iscar to the next levels, that will lead us to a breakthrough."
The question is, which country do you intend to break through?
Buffett told shareholders on Saturday he wanted to reduce Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s cash pile as he looks for more profitable places to put the company's money, and that there was a small chance he would make a $15 billion acquisition.

The chairman and chief executive, speaking at Berkshire's annual meeting, also said that he sees the U.S. dollar weakening further but said he reduced his stake in foreign currency contracts because there were better ways of avoiding damage to company profits.

The billionaire investment legend said Berkshire would ideally like to shrink the cash pile to about $10 billion, from about $40 billion currently.

MUUUAWA! Kiss your purchase power goodbye! We're looking at a global crash.

Berkshire is diversifying through foreign acquisitions or taking holdings in companies with substantial operations overseas. Buffett said he plans for Berkshire to have a "fair amount" of earnings power coming from abroad.

Looks like he sees the iceberg on the horizon.

He said he expects more opportunities for acquisitions in the utilities field. In March, Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. unit acquired the western U.S. utility PacifiCorp from Scottish Power Plc for $5.1 billion in cash. [!!!]

* * *

Buffett indicated that media wasn't a preferred area, as competition has increased for share of people's entertainment, raising questions about the long term economics of the sector. "People are always going to want to be entertained and informed but we only have two eyeballs and 24 hours a day."

Damn shame, isn't it? Perhaps they should start pouring money into R&D. Two headed consumers would deliver a spectacular ROI.


At Sunday, May 07, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

I admire Buffet's common sense as it eats through politics and predicts outcomes, and he has taken a political bet this time.

Basically, he is betting on Israel dominating the Middle East. He also betted a huge pile in the last few weeks on US stock indexes going up.

Basically, he is betting that US hegemony will continue. As I remarked on his annual newsletter, he said, 'US hegemony will continue, at least for the foreseeable future'.

So, he is playing the confidence arbitrage between those reluctant to invest in US and US colonies abroad, while he is taking advantage of the current situation.

Now, it is only up to the jihadis to prove Buffet wrong. He has taken his position - based on common sense.


Post a Comment

<< Home