Warren Buffett leads a simple life. But when the revered business legend buys a train set, it's a $34 billion mega-deal.
Coming along just as the economy has begun to recover, Buffett's bid on Tuesday to buy the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. amounts to an "all-in wager on the economic future of the United States," the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in an announcement.
"I love these bets."
One of the world's richest men, Buffett increasingly has been sharing his affections for American investments, including a personal essay in The New York Times about a year ago.
He heralded a $5 billion investment in financial giant Goldman Sachs Group amid the financial crisis last fall, and he trumpeted a $3 billion buy into General Electric Co. barely a week after that.
The key difference with Tuesday's announcement is that Buffett is buying BNSF outright, in what would be the biggest deal in Berkshire's history. Before this, Berkshire's biggest acquisition was the $16 billion stock purchase of reinsurance giant General Re in 1998.
Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire will shell out $34 billion in cash and Berkshire shares to acquire the 77.4 percent of BNSF it doesn’t already own. That values the company at $100 a share.
After the move by Buffett, shares of BNSF jumped $20.93, or 27.5 percent, to $97.
In addition, Berkshire will assume $10 billion in BNSF debt.
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