Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Crosses Milestone

Aug 15, 2014
Originally published on August 16, 2014 8:09 am

The most expensive stock on the New York Stock Exchange just got a little more expensive. A Class A share of Berkshire Hathaway is now worth more than $200,000.

On Thursday, shares closed up $3,500 at $202,850. The Omaha, Neb.-based company has a market value of more than $333 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway is the company created and run by Warren Buffett for nearly five decades now. The conglomerate owns more than 80 firms, including Geico Insurance, BNSF Railway and Dairy Queen.

Its stock price has doubled since October 2006 when it crossed the $100,000 mark. Buffett's legendary investment talent helped Berkshire shares outperform the S&P 500 index by a wide margin during that period.

Buffett is the world's third-richest person and owns about 20 percent of the company. He has never split Berkshire's shares — something many companies have done multiple times to make their share price more attractive to investors.

Buffett says he believes a lower share price would prompt speculative trading, and he doesn't want investors to think they can make a lot of money fast by trading Berkshire's stock and then blame him if they don't.

But Buffett did create a lower-priced Class B share in 1996 to outmaneuver fund managers who were creating clones of Berkshire stock. Those Class B shares trade at a small fraction of the price of the original share.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, the one stock that is more expensive than any other on the New York Stock Exchange has crossed another impressive milestone. Once Class A share from Berkshire Hathaway is now worth just over $200,000. NPR's John Ydstie has more.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Berkshire Hathaway is, of course, the company created and run by Warren Buffet for nearly five decades now. The conglomerate owns more than 80 firms, including Geico Insurance, BNSF Railroad and Dairy Queen. Its stock prices doubled since October 2006, when it crossed the $100,000 mark. Buffet's legendary investment talent helped Berkshire's shares outperform the S&P 500 index by a wide margin during that period.

Buffet is the world's third richest person and owns 20 percent of the company. He has never split Berkshire's shares - something many companies have done multiple times to make their share price more attractive to investors. But Buffett has refused to.

He says he believes a lower share price would prompt speculative trading, and he doesn't want investors to think they can make a lot of money fast by trading Berkshire's stock and then blame him if they don't. But Buffett did create a lower-priced Class B share in 1996 to outmaneuver fund managers who were creating clones of Berkshire's stock. Those Class B shares trade at a small fraction of the price of the original share. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.