Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway has had a pretty tumultuous history and plenty of ups and downs both before and after Buffett took the reins in 1965. However, you can’t really study Warren Buffett without also understanding the company he has created. While we have a history listed elsewhere on the site, here are 10 facts that you might not know about Berkshire Hathaway.
1. Berkshire started in textiles
The Berkshire Hathaway name was created when Berkshire Drummer Mills merged with Hathaway Manufacturing in 1955. The company, immediately after merger, began to lose money at an incredible rate.
2. Berkshire stayed in textiles until 1985
The last textile mill was finally closed down due to the inability to compete with competition. The mills were liquidated because Berkshire couldn’t find a buyer.
3. The first company Berkshire purchased was the National Indemnity Company in 1967.
It cost Berkshire $8.5 million and was the first step out of the textile business and into insurance, which is currently one of the major enterprises of this corporation.
4. Since 1965, shareholders have only collected one dividend
It happened in 1967 and was a $0.10 per share payout. Buffett joked that he must have been in the bathroom when it happened.
5. Berkshire has the most expensive stock in US investing history
Berkshire has two different stocks: Class A and Class B, which were first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1988. When it was listed, the Class A stocks were worth $4,300 per share. In 2016, they rose to more than $250,000 per share.
5. Berkshire Hathaway is the sixth largest company in the world
When measured in terms of market capitalization, Berkshire Hathaway fell between ExxonMobil and Facebook in ranking during 2016.
6. Berkshire Hathaway has more assets than Amazon
As of 2015, if you added up all of Berkshire Hathaway’s assets—including real estate, buildings, vehicles, and items—its combined worth would be around ten times that of Amazon.
7. Berkshire consistently outperforms the S&P 500
In the 44 five-year periods since Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway, the company has only underperformed the S&P 500 only once, and that was in the five year period ending in 2013.
8. Berkshire employees alone could populate a small city
At the end of 2013, Berkshire employed 330,745 people, but only 23 of those were at its headquarters in Omaha, NE.
9. The Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting has an official drink
It’s cherry coke, which is also the favorite drink of chairman Warren Buffett.
10. Berkshire is really big into wind power
Berkshire’s MidAmerican energy was the No. 1 owner of wind-powered energy generation among U.S. rate-regulated entities as of 2015