Berkshire Hathaway Closes Deal with Wesco Financial
Warren Buffett himself owns 24.3% of Wesco. Eighty percent of the company is owned by Blue Chip, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Blue Chip has owned 80% of Wesco since 1983; therefore Wesco is indirectly under Berkshire's control.
Ninety-three percent of Wesco's shareholders agreed to the transaction when it was voted upon during a special shareholder meeting to seek approval for the acquisition. The company was was controlled by Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett plans to simplify Wesco's operations and make Wesco a fully-owned subsidiary of Berskhire. Munger's old age is probably one cause of the transaction, as he would not be able to act as the company's chairman for much longer.
Wesco Financial Corp. is engaged in three principal businesses through wholly owned subsidiaries: the insurance business, through Wesco-Financial Insurance Company and The Kansas Bankers Surety Company; and the steel service center business, through Precision Steel Warehouse Inc. Wesco Financial Corp. has a market cap of $2.74 billion; its shares were traded at around $384.5 with a P/E ratio of 52.89 and P/S ratio of 3.58. The dividend yield of Wesco Financial Corp. stocks is 0.44%.
On May 6, 2011, Wesco Financial reported its results for the first quarter 2011. The unaudited consolidated net loss of Wesco Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries for the quarter amounted to $53,484,000, as compared to net income of $12,327,000 for the first quarter of 2010. The company also announced that its consolidated earnings, excluding realized net investment gains and losses and other-than-temporary impairment losses, decreased by $32,890,000 for the first quarter of 2011, as compared with results from a year ago.