Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has set the date for a shareholders meeting related to its planned acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
In a preliminary proxy statement filed this morning with the SEC, Berkshire gives notice that a special meeting of shareholders will be held at 9:30a on Wednesday, January 20, 2010, at Omaha's Holland Performing Arts Center.
Shareholders are being asked to approve a 50-for-1 split of Berkshire's Class B shares, without splitting the higher-priced Class A shares.
That split would bring Class B shares down from about $3300 each (at today's price) to roughly $66 each.
In an interview with CNBC just after the Burlington deal was announced about a month ago, Buffett told us:
"I'm not big on stock splits. But by having this split, it enables anybody that has as little as one share of BNSF to opt for the tax-free exchange... So those small shareholders can have exactly the same availability that otherwise would only have been available to a big shareholder."
We assume this meeting will be all business, with a relatively small number of people in attendance, unlike the annual party/media frenzy that accompanies Berkshire's regular shareholders meeting each May.
And there's no doubt about the outcome. Buffett has 31.6 percent of the aggregate voting power of both classes of Berkshire stock, owning 350,000 shares of Class A and 1,500,618 shares of Class B....