Berkshire Hathaway Acquires Stakes In Five Japanese Trading Companies

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) announced Sunday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, National Indemnity Company, will notify Japan's Kanto Local Finance Bureau that it has acquired slightly more than 5% of the outstanding shares in "five of the leading Japanese trading companies." The companies, listed alphabetically, are Itochu (ITOCY), Marubeni (MARUY), Mitsubishi (MSBHY), Mitsui (MITSY) and Sumitomo (SSUMY).

These holdings were acquired over a period of approximately twelve months through regular purchases on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Berkshire said its intention is to hold its Japanese investments for the long term. Depending on price, Berkshire Hathaway may increase its holdings up to a maximum of 9.9% in any of the five investments, it added. However, Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has pledged that the company will make purchases only up to an ownership of 9.9% in any of the five investments.

The company will make no purchases beyond that point unless given specific approval by the investee's board of directors. Buffett said, "I am delighted to have Berkshire Hathaway participate in the future of Japan and the five companies we have chosen for investment. The five major trading companies have many joint ventures throughout the world and are likely to have more of these partnerships. I hope that in the future there may be opportunities of mutual benefit."

Berkshire Hathaway has 625.5B of yen-denominated bonds outstanding, maturing at various dates beginning in 2023 and ending in 2060. 

Disclosure: None.

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