Berkshire completes acquisition of BNSF railroad
Warren Buffett’s company completed its largest acquisition ever Friday when it bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. also joined the S&P 500 and S&P 100 stock indexes after Friday’s close of the markets because as part of the BNSF deal, the Omaha-based company gained liquidity by issuing new shares and splitting its Class B shares 50-for-1. The deal also created an opening in the S&P indexes because Berkshire bought one of the nation’s largest railroads.
The stock index news helped Berkshire’s stock post significant gains since it was announced Jan. 26.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. paid roughly $100 per share in cash and stock for the 77.4 percent of BNSF shares that it didn’t already own.
Burlington Northern shareholders, who controlled about 70 percent of the shares Berkshire didn’t already own, voted Thursday to support the deal. That vote was the last hurdle for the deal. [Read the full article]
Japan’s Shinsei Bank Ltd. and Aozora Bank Ltd. — two midsize lenders with major U.S. shareholders — could call off their plan to merge later this year amid differences over management, strategy and system integration, news reports said Saturday.
The two companies announced the merger plan in July, saying the combined entity would be Japan’s sixth-largest bank with assets of about 18 trillion yen ($200.7 billion).
However, Japan’s leading Nikkei business newspaper said Saturday the banks have been unable to bridge differences over management policy or come up with a growth strategy. Kyodo News agency also reported they are at odds over how to integrate their banking systems, and what their core banking business should be.
The Nikkei quoted executives it did not identify from both banks for its report. Kyodo quoted sources it did not name.
Kyodo said if an agreement cannot be reached, the banks may drop the merger and pursue independent paths. [Read the full article]
BMW of North America today announced the launch of its largest brand awareness campaign in its history” “Story of Joy.” The campaign begins during the XXI Winter Olympic Games and continues at a pace heavy enough to make BMW the largest luxury automotive spender of the Games. “Story of Joy” will serve as the umbrella for the automaker’s global communications. [Read the full article]
Bharti Airtel (Bombay:BRTI.BO – News) has offered up to $10.7 billion for the African assets of Kuwaiti telecom group Zain (Kuwait:ZAIN.KW – News), Kuwaiti newspapers reported on Saturday, as India’s largest mobile operator makes a renewed foreign push.
Zain’s board is expected to meet soon to discuss Bharti’s offer, local daily al-Rai said in an unsourced report.
Bharti has resumed its hunt for emerging market acquisitions after its planned $24 billion merger with South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J) failed in September, the second time a proposed deal between the two had collapsed in just over a year.
In October, Akhil Gupta, deputy group CEO at the mobile operator’s parent, said Bharti would look at buying a stake in Zain if there was an opportunity.
Ownership of Zain and its assets in Africa have been the subject of much speculation since August last year when talk of a potential sale emerged. [Read the full article]