A dividend payment would be a significant strategic shift for the holding company. Buffett has resisted payouts because dividends used to be taxed heavily, and he was confident that he could make more money by investing Berkshire's money himself.
However, taxes on dividends have been cut. Berkshire also has struggled to find acquisitions in recent years, leaving it with more than $43 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2004.
"If, in a couple of years, we aren't producing more than a dollar's worth of market value from each dollar we retain, then we should have a dividend," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual shareholders' meeting in Omaha, Neb.