The list of wholly own subsidiaries by Berkshire Hathaway can be somewhat astounding. It is no secret Warren Buffett loves buying companies whole. What you may or may not know is that he also encourages the companies he acquires to pursue acquisitions of their own. While you can find a current list of subsidiaries on the Berkshire Hathaway website, we took it upon ourselves to map out the overall architecture of this conglomerate. The visual below includes not just those direct subsidiaries but also the directly owned subsidiaries of those companies.
We attempted to visually organize the list in a similar format as to how Buffett classifies the businesses inside his annual shareholder letter. Buffett reports the entirety of Berkshire Hathaway in four separate categories:
- Manufacturing, Service & Retail
- Regulated Capital-Intensive Businesses
Not all subsidiaries will be perfectly categorized. For example, Clayton Homes is a manufacturer of modular housing. However, the majority of Clayton Homes income comes from its mortgage portfolio, leaving Buffett to classify it as a Financial business.
To understand the structure we included the following abbreviations following most businesses:
- (S) for Subsidiary
- (B) for Branch
- (D) for Division
- (P) for Plant
Below the visual, you will find an accompanying history and description of the direct 61 subsidiaries listed on the Berkshire Hathaway website.
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Acme Brick Company (http://www.brick.com/) – Acme Brick Company is a manufacturer and distributor of brick and masonry-related products. Purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001, the company keeps its headquarters is in Fort Worth, Texas. The operating businesses owned by Acme Brick include Acme-Ochs Brick and Stone, Inc, Featherlite Building Products, and Jenkins Brick Company, Inc. Jenkins Brick Company, Inc also operates the branch of Jenkins Brick Company, Inc of Attalla.
Applied Underwriters (http://www.applieduw.com/) – Originally founded in 1994, Applied Underwriters was acquired by Berkshire On February 8th, 2006. The company specializes in workers compensation insurance.
Ben Bridge Jeweler (http://www.benbridge.com/) – Founded in 1912, Ben Bridge Jeweler is a luxury retailer that sells watches, diamonds, and engagement rings. The company operates over 90 retail stores in 11 states and is one of three luxury retailers Warren Buffett has added to his conglomerate. The acquisition of Ben Bride Jeweler was completed and announced on May 18th, 2000.
Benjamin Moore & Co. (http://www.benjaminmoore.com/) – 2000 was a busy year for Buffett. Buffett shelled out around $1 billion in cash for Benjamin Moore & Co in November of 2000. The household name was valued by Buffett for it’s dedication to independent distribution within local hardware stores. Founded in 1883 by Benjamin and Robert Moore, today the paint manufacturing company calls Montvale, New Jersey its home.
Berkshire Hathaway Automotive (http://www.berkshirehathawayautomotive.com/) – The Berkshire Hathaway Automotive group brings together 78 independently owned operated dealerships. Currently, the group brings in over $8 billion in annual revenue.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company (http://www.berkshirehathawayenergyco.com/) – The Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company is 90% owned by Berkshire Hathaway. The controlling stake was purchased in 1999. Today the company operates Ken River Gas Transmission Company, MidAmerican Energy Funding, Northern Natural Gas Company, NV Energy Inc, Pacific Corp and CE Electric and brings in over $17 billion in collective revenue.
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies (http://www.guard.com/) – Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Companies are wholly owned by National Indemnity Company. The “Guard Insurance” companies specialize in underwriting property and casualty insurance for businesses as well as reinsurance coverage.
Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (http://www.bhhc.com/) – Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies (or BHHC) was originally founded over 40 years ago. Initially, the subsidiary was six separate brands but decided to come under the collective BHHC label in the 1990’s. This move was to capitalize on the financial strength associated with Berkshire while also preserving the roots of their collective operations.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (https://bhspecialty.com/) – Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance was created in June 2013 with just four employees. Today it is a thriving player in the Specialty Insurance business, underwriting policies for healthcare professionals, business professionals and others who need insuring against professional liability.
BH Media Group (http://bhmginc.com/) – It is no secret Buffett loves newspapers. Today the BH Media group operates 31 daily newspapers. It is important to note that both the Buffalo News and the Omaha World Herald operate outside of this group.
Boat U.S. (http://www.boatus.com/) – Boat U.S. was acquired by Buffett in 2007. The company specializes in an assortment of services for boat owners, including insurance, loans and manufacturing mediation services.
Borsheims Fine Jewelry (http://www.borsheims.com/) – Borsheims was an acquisition Buffett stumbled across in his backyard. Originally founded in 1870, the jewelry retailer was acquired by Buffett in 1989.
Brooks (http://www.brooksrunning.com/) – Brooks is a feel-good story if there ever was one. In 2001 the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and seemed to be bouncing between parent companies. In 2006, the company made its way to Berkshire when Fruit of the Loom acquired Russell. Russell was the parent company of Brooks up until 2012 when it was decided the company would operate as an independent unit and report directly to Buffett.
Buffalo NEWS, Buffalo NY (http://www.buffalonews.com/) – The Buffalo NEWS acquisition went down as one of Buffett’s most notorious purchases. The acquisition was complete in 1977 and immediately following began publishing the newspaper on both Saturday and Sunday. Despite the turbulent economic times that newspapers have faced, the Buffalo NEWS has done just fine under Berkshire Hathaway.
BNSF (http://www.bnsf.com/) – BNSF is one of the largest freight railroads in the North American continent. Buffett owned public stock in the company up until November 3rd, 2009 when he announced Berkshire would acquire the remaining 77.4 percent of the company. Today the railroad has paid over $24 billion in dividends to Berkshire Hathaway.
Business Wire (http://www.businesswire.com/) On March 1st, 2006, Berkshire Hathaway used Business Wire to announce its acquisition of Business Wire. Business Wire is a multi-channel delivery network for news aggregates, serving over 60 international and national news agencies. The press release’s announcing completed acquisitions by Berkshire Hathaway are typically announced via the Business Wire network.
Central States Indemnity Company (http://www.csi-omaha.com/) – Central States Indemnity Company is a subsidiary founded in 1977. It is based in Omaha, Nebraska and specializes in offering affordable Medicare Supplement insurance plans.
Charter Brokerage (http://charterbrokerage.net/) – Charter Brokerage is an oil industry logistics provider. The company was purchased from private equity group Arsenal Capital in December of 2014.
Clayton Homes (http://www.claytonhomes.com/) – Clayton Homes was founded in 1956 by Jim Clayton. After 18 years of operation, the company added a mortgage division and then a manufacturing division of modular homes. In 2003 the company was acquired by Berkshire for $1.3 billion. Today although the company is recognized for its quality and affordable manufactured homes, Buffett views it more as a financial company because of the size of its healthy mortgage portfolio.
CORT Business Services (http://www.cort.com/) – CORT Business Services was purchased in 2000 by Wesco Financial. Wesco Financial is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and from 1984 to 2011 was managed by Charlie Munger. CORT Business Services specializes in furniture rental and relocation services for office, residential and commercial facilities.
CTB Inc. (http://www.ctbinc.com/) – CTB is a manufacturer of industry-leading poultry, hog, egg, and grain production systems. The company was originally founded in 1952 and acquired by Berkshire in 2002.
Duracell (https://www.duracell.com/en-us/) – Duracell needs no introduction. A common household name, Duracell manufactures batteries and smart power systems. Buffett acquired Duracell in 2014 from Proctor and Gamble. Proctor and Gamble capitalized Duracell with $1.8 billion in cash before exchanging it to Buffett for Berkshire Hathaway’s 52 million P&G shares.
Fechheimer Brothers Company (http://www.fechheimer.com/) – Fechheimer Brothers Company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1986. Today the company is a leading manufacturer of uniforms for working men and women.
FlightSafety (http://www.flightsafety.com/) – FlightSafety is an international operator of flight simulators and training programs. Its market position as a leader in aviation training made it a promising acquisition for Buffet in 1996 at the price of $1.5 billion.
Forest River (http://www.forestriverinc.com/) – Forest River was founded in 1996 by Peter Liegl. In 2005 the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway. The company manufactures recreational vehicles and controls 86 manufacturing plants. Today the company reportedly brings in over $5 billion in annual revenue.
Fruit of the Loom Companies (http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/subs/fruit.html) – Fruit of the Loom has long been a household name, and in 2002 the company was added to the Berkshire family. Buffett purchased the company from creditors out of Chapter 11 for $835 million in cash. Fruit of the Loom has over 166 years of operating history and is one of the leading manufacturers of underwear.
Garan Incorporated (http://www.garanimals.com/) – On September 4th, 2002, it was announced that Berkshire finalized agreements to purchase Garan Incorporated. The deal offered $60 in cash per share to Garan stockholders. Garan’s is most known for its clothing line for children, “Garanimals.”
Gateway Underwriters Agency (http://www.gua-stl.com/) – Gateway Underwriters Agency is a broadly based insurance provider underwriting policies for independent agents across more than 100 different markets. The company was acquired when Berkshire purchased the National Indemnity Company in 1967.
GEICO Auto Insurance (http://www.geico.com/) – GEICO has long stood as one of the most recognizable brands in the Berkshire Hathaway family. As one of the first insurance companies Buffett studied, he began buying shares early in his career. On August 25th, 1995, Buffett completed a $2.3 billion cash offer for the remaining 49% of the company not already owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
General Re (http://www.genre.com/) – General Re is a large multinational reinsurance company that specializes in property and casualty as well as life and health. General Re came under Berkshire Hathaway on June 19th, 1998 in a merger that offered shareholders of General Re, shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett estimated at the time that the merger would bring more than $24 billion in additional investments to Berkshire.
Recently the company won a license to open shop in India, creating a new frontier to underwrite reinsurance policies.
Helzberg Diamonds (http://www.helzberg.com/) – Morris Helzberg founded Helzberg Diamonds in Kansas City, Kansas in 1915. After falling ill, the operations of the company fail in the hands of her 14-year-old son Barnett Helzberg Sr. In 1995 Buffett acquired the company, and it’s 150 operating stores.
H.H. Brown Shoe Group (http://www.hhbrown.com/) – H.H. Brown Shoe Group was founded in 1883 and named after the Massachusetts shoemaker Henry H. Brown. In 1990 the company operated four factories and averaged $25 million in annual gross income. The figures attracted enough of Buffett’s attention to entice him to offer $161 million for the entire company. Today the company is careful to grow through acquisition solely based in the United States. Keeping manufacturing in the U.S. allows H.H. Brown Shoe Group to win government contracts that specifically stipulate products manufactured on U.S. soil.
HomeServices of America (http://www.homeservices.com/) – HomeServices of America is a collective group of residential real estate service companies, scattered across the United States. The company came to Berkshire through the acquisition of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company in 1999. In 2012, the company acquired household names Prudential and Real Living. Most recently, the company acquired Long & Foster in September of 2017.
International Dairy Queen, Inc.(http://www.dairyqueen.com/) – Buffett loves Dairy Queen blizzards, and equally loved the distribution network that came with acquiring International Dairy Queen, Inc. On October 21st, 1997, Berkshire acquired the Dairy Queen chain for $585 million. The brand has been a staple food and beverage company in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio of wholly owned subsidiaries.
IMC International Metalworking Companies (http://www.imc-companies.com/) – IMC is a collective group of metalworking companies headquartered in Gelilee, Israel. In 2006 Buffett completed the acquisition for 80% of the company, making the deal the largest ever in the history of Israel. In 2013, Buffett purchased the remaining 20% for $2.05 billion.
Johns Manville (http://www.jm.com/) – Johns Manville was founded in 1858. The company quickly emerged as a leading manufacturer of building products. From 1930 to 1982 the company was listed as a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In 1982 the company faced large liabilities over asbestos and filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. Buffett saw value in the company around 2000 and shelled out $1.9 billion to acquire the business. Today Johns Manville is a leading manufacturer of roofing material.
Jordan’s Furniture (http://www.jordans.com/) – Jordans Furniture is a unique furniture retail business located in New England. The company was founded by Samuel Tatelman in 1918 with operations consisting of Tatelman selling furniture out of the back of his truck up until 1926. Jordan’s Furniture has always been creative in generating foot traffic to its stores. In 2007 the company offered full rebates if the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. On October 28th, 2007 the Red Sox beat out the Colorado Rockies as World Series champions and Jordan’s Furniture wrote out over 24,000 rebate checks to patrons. Fortunately, the company took out an insurance policy before the promotion. Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company for an undisclosed amount in October of 1999. At the time Jordan’s Furniture was doing nearly $250 million in annual sales.
Justin Brands (http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/subs/justin.html) – Justin Brands is best known for its famous line of Justin Boots. The company was founded by H.J. Justin in 1879 and acquired by Berkshire in 2000.
Kraft Heinz (http://www.kraftheinzcompany.com/) – The merger of Kraft Foods Group and Heinz in 2015 was a blockbuster deal by any measure. Buffett teamed up with 3G Capital to acquire 50% of the company. The completion of the deal placed a value on Kraft Heinz at $46 billion. At the time, the merger created a company with 13 separate brands doing over $500 million in annuals sales each.
Larson-Juhl (http://www.larsonjuhl.com/) – Larson-Juhl is a leading manufacturer of picture frames. The company operates in 67 facilities in 17 different countries. Originally two separate brands, Larson Picture Frame and Juhl-Pacific, merged in 1988. The collective effort of both companies pushed operations into International markets and was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in February of 2002.
LiquidPower Specialty Products Inc. (LSPI) (https://www.liquidpower.com/) – Buffett acquired LSPI at the end of 2013 from Phillips 66. The transaction was said to be around $1.4 billion. The company manufactures products that help with pipeline efficiency.
Louis – Motorcycle & Leisure (https://www.louis.de/en) – Louis was founded in 1938 in Hamburg Germany by Walter Lohmann. The company is a European leader in motorcycles and scooters. In February 2015, Buffett acquired the company for $400 million.
Lubrizol Corporation (http://www.lubrizol.com/) – On March 14th, 2011 it was announced Berkshire would acquire 100% of Lubrizol for $135 per share. The transaction was all cash and placed a total value of $9.7 billion. At the time it was one of Buffett’s largest deals to date.
Marmon Holdings, Inc. (http://www.marmon.com/) – Marmon Holdings could be described as a smaller version of Berkshire. The conglomerate based out of Chicago, Illinois, specializes in industrial companies. On December 25th, 2007, it was announced Buffett would acquire 60% of Marmon for $4.5 billion.
McLane Company (http://www.mclaneco.com/) – McLane Company was an interesting acquisition. It happened at a time when Wal-Mart was cash-strapped. At the time, the McClane Company was owned by Way-Mart. Despite Way-Mart making up 30% of McClane Company revenue, the mega-retailer parted with the business in exchange for $1.5 billion in cash from Buffett. Today the McClane Company continues to operate as a wholesale distributor of groceries and other items to retail stores across the U.S.
MedPro Group (http://www.medpro.com/) – Buffett likes insurance and MedPro gives Berkshire Hathaway exposure to the medical space. The group specializes in underwriting malpractice insurance to healthcare providers.
MiTek Inc. (http://www.mii.com/) – Miter was an acquisition completed by Buffett on June 12, 2001. Berkshire acquired 90% of the business with the remaining 10% being acquired by MiTek management. The company is a leading producer of global building components.
National Indemnity Company (http://www.nationalindemnity.com/) – Buffett credits National Indemnity Company as the mistake that cost him $100 billion. In 1967 Buffett was approached as a potential buyer of the company. Instead of buying the company through Buffett Partnerships Ltd, he acquired the National Indemnity Company through Berkshire Hathaway. The acquisition of the National Indemnity Company gave the structure to what is Berkshire Hathaway today.
Nebraska Furniture Mart (http://www.nfm.com/) – The acquisition of Nebraska Furniture Mart is an all-time favorite story of Buffett’s. As the story goes, Rose Blumkin was talking with Ostermann’s (a German furniture company) and had only met Buffett one time despite him being local. In 1983, Rose decided the business would do best under Berkshire ownership and completed the deal on a handshake with Buffett. Rose Blumkin or Mrs. B as she was often called, worked in the business until she was 103.
NetJets® (http://www.netjets.com/) – NetJets Inc was originally founded in 1964 under the name Executive Jet Aviation. It was the first private business jet charter and aircraft management company in the world. In 1998 Berkshire acquired NetJets after three previous years of Buffett being one of the company’s biggest customer.
Oriental Trading Company (http://www.orientaltrading.com/) – Oriental Trading Company is a retailer that specializes in what can be classified only as unordinary items. The company retail stores carry everything from home decor to party favorites. After being passed around private equity firms, the company finally found a home when it was acquired by Berkshire in November of 2012. The deal was said to amount to close to $500 million.
Pampered Chef® (http://www.pamperedchef.com/) – Pampered Chef was originally founded in the basement of Doris Christopher in 1980. The company had a unique distribution model allowing individuals to sell the product line to their friends and family. In 2002 Berkshire acquired the business for an undisclosed amount reportedly in the ballpark of $900 million.
Precision Castparts Corp. (http://www.precast.com/) – In August of 2015, Buffett agreed to a colossal deal purchasing Precision Castparts Corp for $37.2 billion. Precision Castparts Corp is a leader in the field of manufacturing aerospace and energy components.
Precision Steel Warehouse, Inc. (http://www.precisionsteel.com/) – Precision Steel Warehouse came under the ownership of Berkshire through the subsidiary Wesco. Originally founded in 1940 by George Tinsley, the company and its subsidiaries were sold to Wesco in 1979.
RC Willey Home Furnishings (http://www.rcwilley.com/) – RC Willey Home Furnishings was originally founded by Rufus Call Willey in 1932. The company was acquired in 1995 by Berkshire. Today the company has stores in the western part of the United States.
Richline Group (http://www.richlinegroup.com/) – Buffett’s acquisition history has shown he likes jewelry retailers. In acquiring Richline Group, he also showed his fondness for jewelry manufacturers. The acquisition was completed in 2007 and the company remains one of the most financially strong in the manufacturing business.
Scott Fetzer Companies (http://www.scottfetzer.com/index.html) – Scott Fetzer Companies can be viewed as another miniature Berkshire Hathaway. Originally founded in 1914 as a mechanical shop, the company quickly created household brands under its operations making it a modern-day conglomerate. In 1986, Buffett purchased the business for a reported $400 million.
See’s Candies (http://www.sees.com/) – See’s Candies is a notorious deal in the history of Berkshire Hathaway. In 1972 Buffett and Munger almost walked away from the opportunity when the purchase price reached their upper threshold of $25 million. At the time Buffett was still in his “cigar butts” investing mindset and thought he was overpaying. Today the company exceeds $400 million in annual revenue making it one of the largest candy producers.
Shaw Industries (http://www.shawinc.com/) – Shaw Industries is one of the worlds largest carpet manufacturers, bringing in over $4 billion in annual revenue. Originally founded in 1947, the company was acquired by Buffett in 2001.
Star Furniture (http://www.starfurniture.com/) – Shaw Furniture began as a modest furniture delivery company in the early 1900’s. In 1997 Berkshire acquired the business. Although the business is now a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, it’s operations to this day remain in the hands of the original family, the Wollf’s.
TTI, Inc. (http://www.ttiinc.com/) – TTI, Inc is an electric component parts manufacturer. The company was acquired by Buffett in March of 2007.
United States Liability Insurance Group (http://www.usli.com/) – United States Liability Insurance Group was founded in Pennsylvania in 1867. The company specializes in low hazard, low premium underwriting through varied categories. The company was acquired by Berkshire in 2000.
XTRA Corporation (http://www.xtralease.com/) – XTRA Corporation is a leading provider of leasing and rental trailers. The company was acquired for $55 a share by Berkshire on September 17th, 2001.
Cunningham, L. A. (2014). Berkshire beyond Buffett: the enduring value of values. New York: Columbia Business School Publishing.
Author: Carter Johnson
Expertise: Entrepreneurship and business strategy
Carter is the founder of United Business Leaders which invests in private companies with strong operating histories. He has a passion for investing and helping businesses with strategic initiatives.
Connect with Carter on LinkedIn.
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