Four Deals Primed for Warren Buffett's $40 Billion War Chest
For instance, Burlington Northern revenue climbed from nearly 7% to $5.1 billion in the quarter, and its earnings were higher by $110 million versus the year-ago quarter.
Berkshire's manufacturing, retail and services business saw across the board increases in revenue versus the prior year. Housing related earnings from Acme Building Brands, Benjamin Moore (paint), Johns Manville (insulation), Shaw (carpets) and MiTek (roofing) were also part of a manufacturing group that saw revenue increase 35% and earnings go higher by 56% versus the year ago period.
In light of the improving Berkshire earnings and the massive cash hoard, here's a look at some unconventional deals that Berkshire could target in coming quarters, as its cash swells to what could be uncomfortable levels.
A wireless bet on DISH Network(DISH)
Berkshire Hathaway is noticeably underexposed to the telecommunications sector and the global smartphone boom that may put iPhones and Google(GOOG) -powered Android devices into the hands of billions of consumers around the world. With the likes of AT&T(T) and Verizon(VZ) beyond the reach of even Buffett-sized 'elephant guns,' the Oracle may yet have way to invest in the smartphone boom, as satellite TV giant DISH Network(DISH) pushes into the wireless market.
DISH and its visionary co-founder and chairman Charlie Ergen are at a developed but still uncertain stage in a plan to build a national wireless service, which could fit within Buffett's buyout and capital expenditure parameters.
After spending years scavenging bankruptcy courts for spectrum -- government regulated airwaves that smartphone data runs over -- Ergen and DISH have some of the best unused wireless assets in the industry, which could be used to build a national mobile broadband network to challenge the likes of Verizon and AT&T. However, DISH's strategy of pushing into the wireless market after building a satellite TV powerhouse carries large risks, including key pending regulatory approvals and the prospect of billions in capital expenditure needed for a build out.