Buffett Bets on Recovery, Buys Burlington for $26B

Deal will be Berkshire Hathaway's largest ever
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:41 AM CST
Idle Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotives sit in a rail yard in Lincoln, Neb, May 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to buy up the 77.4% of railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe it didn’t already own for $26 billion, in what would be Warren Buffett’s largest acquisition ever. “It’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States,” says Buffett. “I love those bets.” Buffett says he uses railroad data as an indicator of the nation’s financial health.

Most railroad executives believe that freight volume has bottomed, and that the industry is poised to recover, and Burlington is seen as one of the best-run operators, the Wall Street Journal reports. Berkshire will pay $100 per share, a 31% premium on yesterday’s closing price, meaning the deal values the company at $34 billion.