Fifty-five years and few days after Warren Buffett bought his first shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the company he built into a global powerhouse entered the $300,000 club.
Moments ago, Berkshire’s Class A shares jumped above the $300,000 mark for the first time, hitting as high as $300,015. The stock is up more than 20% this year, with about half the rally coming since Nov. 16, when the House of Representatives passed its plan to cut the tax rate for U.S. companies.
Berkshire’s Class A shares are by far the most expensive publicly traded equities in the U.S., in part owing to Mr. Buffett’s longtime reticence to split the stock. The price has come a long way since Mr. Buffett put in his first order to buy 2,000 shares with Wall Street broker Tweedy, Browne and Reilly back in Dec. 12, 1962. He paid $7.50 a share for his initial stake.
That’s an increase of roughly four million percent.
Mr. Buffett would go on to buy much more of the company over the next few years, and he took control in 1965. He currently owns about 17% of Berkshire, and held more than 30% before he began to give away big chunks of his holdings to charity in 2006. His stake is worth about $85 billion at current prices, and Forbes pegs him as the world’s third-richest person.
Back when Mr. Buffett took the reins, Berkshire was a struggling textile company. He has transformed it into a massive conglomerate that runs a railroad, operates power plants, makes airplane parts, and owns trucking companies, car dealerships, real estate brokers, jewelry stores and much, much more.
Some units are household names, like Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Duracell and car insurer Geico. Others operate in relative obscurity but rake in billions of dollars in revenue each year.
All told, Berkshire’s per-share market value has posted a compounded annual gain of 21% in the more than five decades that Mr. Buffett has been at the helm, a track record that supports the widely held notion that Mr. Buffett is one of the most successful capitalists in history.
The stock pierced the $1,000 level in 1983, passed $10,000 in 1992 and hit $100,000 for the first time in 2006. It first touched $250,000 intraday about one year ago....MUCH MORE