Category Archives: Acquisitions

Berkshire Hathaway Acquires Transco Railway Products

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Holdings, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Transco Railway Products Inc., a railcar repair business with operations across the northern U.S., from Transco Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Chicago-based Transco Railway Products provides railroad tank car and freight car repair and maintenance, auto-rack certification, and hopper car cleaning at seven repair shops located in the Great Lakes region, Iowa, and Montana. The company also provides components to the freight car industry from a fabrication site in Ohio. The business was founded in 1936 as a provider of replacement parts for railcars.

The acquired company will continue to operate as Transco Railway Products within Marmon’s Rail & Leasing sector, whose companies provide railroad tank car manufacturing, leasing, and repair services; intermodal tank containers; in-plant rail switching and loading/unloading services; track installation and maintenance services; and steel tank heads and cylinders for markets including energy, chemical, petrochemical, agricultural, and transportation.

Marmon’s Railcar Repair Services group offers the largest railroad tank car repair and maintenance network in North America.

“We are excited to acquire a company with such a solid reputation in the railcar repair arena,” said Bill Merrill, President of Marmon Railcar Repair Services. “Our goal is to leverage Marmon’s resources to help Transco Railway Products expand its business in both freight and tank car repair.”

Bob Nelson, current President of Transco Railway Products, will continue to lead the business. “We have significantly invested in our repair network over the past several years, allowing us to grow,” Nelson said. “With Marmon’s backing, we look forward to further growth to better serve our existing and new customers.”

Marmon Rail & Leasing is part of Marmon Holdings, a global industrial organization comprising 10 diverse business sectors and more than 100 autonomous manufacturing and service businesses with revenues of more than $8.1 billion in 2018.

© 2019 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Clayton Homes Acquires Ninth Site Builder

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, the leading builder of manufactured homes, is quickly becoming a big player in the site built home business. Clayton has acquired Highland Homes, a Florida home builder that is the ninth home builder acquired by Clayton in just three years.

In its 23rd year, Highland, which is based in Lakeland, Florida, is headed by the father and son team, Bob and Joel Adams. Both will be staying on to run the company under Clayton.

The builder will join Clayton Properties Group, a division of Clayton Home Building Group that is based in Maryville, Tennessee.

Highland’s focus is on the low and midprice market, which fits with Clayton’s market approach for its site built homes.

“We are thrilled to join Clayton Properties Group’s family of builders,” said Joel Adams, Highland Homes’ executive vice president, in the statement. “The partnership with Clayton opens up tremendous opportunity for our team members to continue our focus on building high-quality, affordable homes in Central Florida with a strong emphasis on customer experience and market growth.”

Ranked 75th on the 2018 Builder Magazine’s Builder 100 list, Highland built 800 homes in 2018, and is aiming to construct 980 in 2019.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Special Report: Kevin Clayton Transforms Clayton Homes

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

“Would you believe where we are after just three years,” Kevin Clayton, president and CEO of Clayton Homes, says about the company’s move into the site builder business.

It’s a business that Clayton is growing rapidly, and he just acquired Highland Homes in early May, a Florida home builder that is the ninth home builder acquired by Clayton in just three years.

It’s all part of an increasing emphasis on site built homes for the low and midprice market, notes Kevin Clayton.

“It’s a market that has an average price point of $318,000, Clayton says, “which is well under the national average of over $400,000.”

Clayton Homes, which runs its site builders under its Clayton Properties Group, a division of Clayton Home Building Group that is based in Maryville, Tennessee, is already ranked 18th on Builder Magazine’s Builder 100 list and rising fast.

Clayton Homes has been named “Builder of the year” for 2019. It’s an award that really pleases Kevin Clayton.

“To think we weren’t even in that business three years ago,” Clayton says proudly.

Clayton is looking to acquire more site builders, but notes they must meet four criteria.

“First, the owner must be willing to stay around and work,” Clayton says. “Second, they must have survived the last recession; third, they must focus on building low and midprice houses, and fourth, but not least, they must be customer focused and really care about the customer experience.”

Clayton Homes was founded in 1956, by Kevin Clayton’s father Jim Clayton, and Kevin Clayton has led the company since 1999, when he took over from his father.

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2003 for $1.7 billion, Clayton Homes has grown into a diverse builder offering traditional site built homes, modular homes, manufactured homes, tiny homes, college dormitories, military barracks and apartments.

Improvement in Manufactured Homes

Kevin Clayton is also positive about his manufactured homes business, which he emphasis use the same 30-year shingles as a traditional site built home.

“We don’t have metal roofs anymore,” Clayton says. “Our manufactured homes have a lifespan that’s the same as a site built home.”

Clayton is also building a new type of manufactured homes, for now dubbed New Class Homes, which meet Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards. By qualifying, borrowers have lower down payment requirements and lender fees. The homes qualify for a MH Advantage loan, and must be “designed to meet specific construction, architectural design and energy efficiency standards,” according to Fannie Mae.

The move dramatically reduces the amount of down payment borrowers have to come up with. MH Advantage loans require a 3 % down payment, down from 5% previously. In addition, Fannie Mae does not charge its 50-basis-point loan-level price adjustment for manufactured housing loans.

“New Class Homes represent only a couple of percent of our revenues right now,” Kevin Clayton says, but he sees lots of rooms for growth.

The overall manufactured home business is strong.

“The manufactured home business is up 6-7 percent this year,” Clayton says.

Clayton emphasized the environmental advantages manufactured homes, which produce far less waste than traditional site built homes.

“All our 42 facilities are ISO 14001 certified, which is all about environmental standards,” Clayton says.

ISO 14001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system.

Clayton has moved much of its supply chain in-house, building more of its own components.

“We build our own windows,” Clayton notes.

Why Consumers Buy Manufactured Homes

It’s a type of housing that opens home ownership to a broad range of consumers that are locked out of housing market as traditional home prices have skyrocketed.

“Fifty percent of people we help with a home would not qualify for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages,” Clayton says.

A big part of that access to homes is the greatly lower price point. A manufactured home can be purchased for $69,000 and has an average cost of only $116,000 with land.

“In rural America there’s not a lot of apartment options,” Kevin Clayton notes. “Many of our customers have been living with family, and are looking for an affordable way to live on their own.”

Clayton especially notes the popularity of manufactured homes for five-acre ranches.

“Where there’s land, we shine!”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties Acquires Sea Girt and Shrewsbury Offices of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties has announced that they have expanded their market service areas in Monmouth and Ocean counties by acquiring the Sea Girt and Shrewsbury offices of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties. With this acquisition, the company now has five Monmouth County offices and 21 in total in Northern and Central New Jersey.

“We are thrilled to align ourselves with the outstanding management and sales teams of the Sea Girt and Shrewsbury offices of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties,” according to William O. Keleher, Jr., chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties. “Additionally, Bret Violette, former owner and broker-of-record, will continue to support the Sea Girt and Shrewsbury offices while also working closely with our management team, focusing his talents in many ways to assist us in the continued growth of our company.”

“By bringing a higher level of support and corporate services to our new Monmouth County offices, we are certain that we will create better opportunities for our sales associates and in turn, a more powerful value proposition for our clients,” states Christopher Brown, president and general sales manager of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties.

© 2019 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Marmon Crane Services Acquires Texas-Based Joyce Crane

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Marmon Crane Services has acquired Texas-based Joyce Crane. Marmon Crane Services is a unit of Berkshire Hathaway’s Marmon Holdings.

Headquartered in Longview, Texas, with additional locations in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, Joyce Crane serves the heavy duty lifting and rigging needs of refineries, petrochemical companies, and power and manufacturing plants throughout the South and across the country.

“We are excited to welcome Joyce Crane and its employees to Marmon’s global portfolio of crane businesses,” said John Roberts, Sector President of Marmon Crane Service. “Joyce Crane is a company with a strong brand and an excellent service record, and we look forward to its continued growth under Marmon’s ownership.”

The company will continue to operate under the Joyce Crane name and brand. Staff and leadership, including founder Joe Bob Joyce, will remain the same with business support by Marmon Crane Services management.

“This is a very exciting time for Joyce Crane. This agreement is a positive move that will strengthen both companies and benefit all of Joyce Crane’s stakeholders, including our employees, clients, and vendors,” said Joe Bob Joyce, President. “We also remain steadfast in our commitment to the communities where we live and do business.”

Marmon Crane Services is headquartered in Chicago. The company owns and operates one of the largest fleets in the world with more than 1,200 mobile cranes. Its current companies include Procrane and Sterling Crane in Canada and the United States; Advantage Crane, based in Victoria, British Columbia; Freo Group, based in Kwinana, Western Australia; and WGC Cranes, based in Wollongong, New South Wales. Marmon’s crane business originated with Sterling Crane in western Canada in 1954.

Marmon Crane Services is part of Marmon Holdings, Inc., a Chicago-based diversified holding company with operations in 23 countries and 2018 revenues exceeding $8 billion.

Marmon Holdings is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Fontaine Modification Acquires Truck Upfitter ProBilt Services of Ohio

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Fontaine Modification has acquired truck upfitter ProBilt Services of Ohio, Inc., along with the company’s 30,000 sq. ft. facility located less than half a mile from the Kenworth assembly plant in Chillicothe.

The facility, which also has parking for more than 100 trucks, becomes Fontaine’s ninth U.S. modification center.

Fontaine Modification is a Marmon Highway Technologies (MHT) company, and part of The Marmon Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company.

The team at Fontaine’s new Chillicothe facility will provide fleet in-servicing and vehicle modifications to Kenworth trucks. A ship-thru agreement with Kenworth means customers can have their modifications completed and their trucks made “ready to work” without additional transportation time and expense. Services include equipment and graphics installation, pre-delivery inspections, cab modifications and custom vehicle modifications.

“We’re excited to acquire this well-run operation with a good crew of technicians and a long list of happy customers,” says Paul Kokalis, Fontaine Modification president. “We look forward to putting our more than 30 years of truck post-production leadership to work for Kenworth customers around the country.”

Fontaine operates two additional modification centers in Ohio, one in Springfield and another in Avon Lake. The company also has three locations in North Carolina, two in Texas and one in West Virginia. Fontaine plans to retain ProBilt’s Chillicothe team.

“We’re proud of our Chillicothe team and the business relationships we have made there,” said Toney Fitzgerald, principle owner of ProBilt. “While we are sad to leave Chillicothe, we trust Fontaine Modification will nurture and grow this business to its full potential. This move allows us to focus on our home operation in Denton, Texas.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lubrizol Acquires Laboratoire Phenobio

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The Lubrizol Corporation has announced the acquisition of Laboratoire Phenobio, an innovative supplier of naturally-derived extracts and botanical active ingredients. Recognized across the world as a pioneer in botanical extracts and natural performance ingredients, this addition expands Lubrizol’s existing capabilities to provide clean natural ingredients across the cosmetic, nutraceutical and life sciences industries.

Located near the Bordeaux region in France, the company’s unique capabilities in subcritical water extraction (SWE) of botanical biomass, coupled with their energy-economic and eco-responsible technologies provide significant value to Lubrizol’s global sustainability efforts. This expertise includes a technology used to extract phytoactives from botanical raw materials and is also commonly known as pressurized low polarity water (PLPW). The technology involves extraction of a broad range of phytoactives that are not normally obtained with only water.

“Lubrizol continues to invest in innovative technologies to offer step change formulations for the personal care and life sciences markets” states Deb Langer, Lubrizol vice president and general manager of personal, home and healthcare. “With this acquisition, Lubrizol customers will have access to novel botanical extracts compliant with ECOCERT® and COSMOS standards that meet the naturality and sustainability expectations end users are requiring on a global basis. Additionally, our preferred partners will have access to final formulations using this exciting new technology.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkadia Acquires Central Park Capital Partners

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkadia, Berkshire Hathaway’s joint venture with Jefferies Financial Group, continues to grow. Berkadia has acquired Central Park Capital Partners, a boutique real estate capital advisory firm focused on arranging joint venture investments and structured capital from international and domestic institutional and qualified capital sources.

CPCP’s Founder and Managing Principal Noam Franklin and Principals Chinmay Bhatt and Cody Kirkpatrick will launch Berkadia’s Structured Capital Group to offer greater support and resources to Berkadia clients.

Mr. Franklin and Mr. Bhatt will be based out of Berkadia’s New York City headquarters, while Mr. Kirkpatrick will operate out of Berkadia’s Denver office.

“With our acquisition of Central Park Capital Partners, we’re redoubling our efforts to make the accessibility of joint venture and structured capital a true differentiator with new levels of personalization and customization for the mutual benefit of our clients,” said Berkadia CEO Justin Wheeler. “As the cycle matures and deal structures become more sophisticated, tapping into a wide range of joint venture capital is critical to our clients. Having worked with Noam, Chinmay and Cody on a number of successful deals, CPCP was the obvious choice for a competitive acquisition.”

“The CPCP team has deep relationships with diverse domestic and international joint venture capital sources and they share our long-term view and dedication to client service,” continued Wheeler. “With the launch of Berkadia’s Structured Capital Group, we’re truly a one-stop shop—enabling clients to take advantage of competitive opportunities in the market in a more streamlined manner and driving greater value.”

In 2018, Berkadia completed over $34 billion in combined mortgage banking and investments sales production across more than 1800 transactions.

“We’ve been working closely with the Berkadia team recently and have been impressed that they share our targeted approach to client engagement and deal execution,” said Mr. Franklin. “We have strong domestic and international capital relationships, particularly in the Middle East, Canada, Europe and Asia.”

“In joining Berkadia, we’re bringing a diverse roster of new capital sources to the table, creating enhanced joint venture matchmaking opportunities backed by best-in-class insight, technology and experience,” continued Mr. Franklin. “Considering current market conditions, owners and developers are looking beyond their traditional partners and seeking to grow their stable of joint venture funding sources in order to capitalize deals. As Berkadia’s Structured Capital Group, we’re well positioned to meet this challenge and create synergies that will drive results for all stakeholders.”

About Berkadia

Founded in 2009 as a 50/50 joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation (now known as Jefferies Financial Group), Berkadia is a third-party commercial mortgage servicer, as well as an approved lender for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD/FHA.

The company is among the top Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily lenders.

Berkadia owes its origins to GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation, which was acquired in 2009 by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners LLC, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Christened Capmark Financial, the company had $10 billion of originations in 2008 and a servicing portfolio of more than $360 billion before running into bankruptcy in October 2009.

In a deal approved by the bankruptcy court, Capmark sold its mortgage loan and servicing to the newly formed Berkadia in a deal worth $515 million.

The deal brought Berkshire into the heart of the commercial loan serving business, and the company has one of the largest commercial real estate servicing portfolios.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty of Key West Acquires Market Leading Brokerage in Marathon & Lower Florida Keys

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty has acquired a Middle Keys brokerage formerly operated as Christie’s-affiliated American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys.

The latter now operates as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Keys Real Estate.

Through the union, Knight & Gardner Realty gains a market-leading brokerage, 24 seasoned agents and access to the vibrant Lower and Middle Keys markets. Ginger Henderson, 35-year owner of the brokerage operating as American Caribbean Real Estate of the Middle & Lower Keys, will remain with Keys Real Estate as an agent and mentor to the group.

“We are thrilled to join forces with one of the most respected brokerages in the Florida Keys,” said Will Langley, president of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate. “Ginger and her team are highly regarded in the region for their skill, integrity and expertise in resort and high-end property. We’re proud they will represent our growing brokerage family and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.”

Henderson, who wanted to focus more on her sizeable book of business in the region, sought an acquisition that would bring her agents a respected brand and suite of tools and resources to help them grow their businesses.

“I spoke to many suitors,” she explained. “For me, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Knight & Gardner Realty was the obvious choice. The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand carries the name of one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporations, and Knight & Gardner Realty is the top-rated brokerage in the Florida Keys. Together, we’ll sell a lot of real estate and satisfy many more clients.”

With their network membership, Keys Real Estate agents gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The network also provides global listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

Gino Blefari, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the merger. “The combination of Knight & Gardner Realty and Keys Real Estate will dominate the Florida Keys for years to come,” he said. “We’re eager to support this growing brokerage family every step of the way.”

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

HomeServices of America Picks Up Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America has acquired Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty and its affiliate, Florida Title and Guarantee Agency.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty will continue to be led by Rei Mesa, the brokerage’s CEO and president.

The firm, based in Florida, serves 21 counties from more than 40 locations and with 1,750 salespeople.

The acquisition grows HomeServices’ presence in the Sunshine State.

It acquired EWM Realty International, based in Miami, in 2003, and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty in 2016.

“Rei, together with his executive leadership team, managing brokers, sales support staff and sales professionals, have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to providing exceptional service to their buyers, sellers and property owners,” says Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America. “Their culture of service, integrity and community involvement closely aligns with our corporate vision and we are fully committed to their continued growth and success.”

“This is an important transaction to HomeServices and we are looking forward to welcoming Rei and his team to the HomeServices family,” Peltier says.

“We are honored and excited to be joining HomeServices,” says Mesa, who was named a 2019 Real Estate Newsmaker by RISMedia. “They are an outstanding organization with a world-class portfolio of real estate brands and an experienced leadership team. Becoming a member of the HomeServices family of companies gives us a unique opportunity to grow and better serve our customers, sales professionals, and employees.”

HomeServices of America, an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway, is No. 2 in the nation for sales volume and transactions, according to RISMedia’s 2018 Power Broker Report, garnering more than $125.4 billion in sales volume and over 328,350 transactions in 2017.

The company was featured in the June 2018 issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, and, in May, Peltier, along with six other industry leaders, was inducted into RISMedia’s inaugural Newsmakers Hall of Fame.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty is among the top 10 brokerages in the country in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network, according to the announcement.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.