Category Archives: Acquisitions

New York’s Top Medical Liability Insurer Now a Berkshire Hathaway Company

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

MLMIC Insurance Company (formerly known as Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company) (“MLMIC”), has completed a conversion from a property and casualty mutual insurance company to a property and casualty stock insurance company and its acquisition by National Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

As a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, MLMIC will have enhanced capacity and financial strength to continue to serve New York State physicians, hospitals and dentists as it has for over 40 years. MLMIC remains the largest underwriter of medical professional liability insurance in New York and continues to be a New York‐focused medical malpractice writer regulated by New York State. It will be operated by the same Board of Directors and staff that have served the market well for several decades.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO stated, “MLMIC is a gem of a company that has protected New York’s physicians, mid‐level providers, hospitals and dentists like no other for over 40 years. We are delighted to add them to the Berkshire Hathaway family and enhance their capacity to serve these and other policyholders for many years to come.”

© 2018 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.

Kraft Heinz Canada Acquires Ethical Bean Coffee

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Kraft Heinz Canada, a subsidiary of The Kraft Heinz Company, has acquired the assets of Ethical Bean Coffee.

Founded in 2003, Ethical Bean Coffee is a leading roaster of 100% Fairtrade, certified organic coffee. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ethical Bean is committed to social responsibility, global awareness and environmental accountability.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Carlos Piani, President of Kraft Heinz Canada said: “Kraft Heinz Canada is continuously looking for ways to deliver superior quality, extensive variety, and finer products to Canadians. We believe quality coffee starts at the source, which involves responsible sourcing and supporting the hard-working dedicated farmers at origin. The acquisition of Ethical Bean Coffee reinforces our pledge to the sustainable health of our people, our planet and our Company.”

Lloyd Bernhardt, co-founder of Ethical Bean stated: “We are proud of what Ethical Bean has been able to accomplish over the past fifteen years, building a brand with a solid reputation across North America for great tasting coffee, that is sustainably sourced. With Kraft Heinz’s expertise and scale, we’re confident that Ethical Bean Coffee will continue to deliver on that reputation to a much wider audience.”

Ethical Bean Coffee is a leading roaster of 100% Fairtrade Certified Organic coffee. Co-founders Lloyd Bernhardt — recognized by Business in Vancouver’s “Top 40 under 40”, and Kim Schachte — an award-winning graphic designer, are committed to social responsibility, global awareness, and environmental accountability.

Their journey to Guatemala in 1999 to adopt their daughter forever changed their lives, sparking a passion for the culture of the country and inspiring a desire to better the lives of the farmers and families living and working in the coffee industry. The couple returned to Vancouver and in 2003 launched Ethical Bean Coffee. What began as a small operation with one employee has grown into an international success.

© 2018 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 Florida Adds Charity & Weiss International Realty

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty has acquired Charity & Weiss International Realty, LLC, expanding into the Sarasota & Manatee Counties.

The expansion will allow the new company and affiliation to gain access to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Global Network Platform for lead generation, marketing support, video production and social media—along with access to listing distribution, relocation referrals, professional education and the Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end listings.

Charity & Weiss International Realty, LLC—founded in 2006 by Broker/Owners Gabriele Charity and Ruediger Weiss—specializes in international and domestic real estate, property management and commercial sales.

Charity and Weiss will stay on as team leaders of the group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty.

“Charity & Weiss and its sales professionals are perfect additions to our operations in the Sarasota/Manatee area,” said Rei L. Mesa, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, in a statement. “The firm is known for their strong leadership, exceptional customer service and a high level of professionalism. We’re proud to welcome Gabi, Rudi and their dedicated team to our Family of Services.”

“We are excited to have the professional and well-respected, multi-lingual Charity & Weiss team join our company and to continue their long-standing tradition of growth with exceptional service—now coupled with our brand, tools and global resources,” remarked Elaine Glandon, regional vice president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty.

“We view our network membership as an investment in our sales professionals,” said Charity. “These resources alone will help our sales professionals take their businesses and service to new heights. Ultimately, that’s great news for real estate consumers throughout the region.”

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty’s core values, active global expansion, vision and technology platform are an excellent match for our team. We believe that the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty brand will resonate extremely well with our customers and sales professionals alike,” commented Weiss.
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© 2018 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 Enters Metairie, Louisiana Market

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices United Properties has entered the percolating Metairie, Louisiana market and added one of the region’s most productive agents and teams, Shaun McCarthy and his McCarthy Group, REALTORS.

The agreement gives United Properties a third office beyond its Baton Rouge headquarters and Central city location. McCarthy and the McCarthy Group, REALTORS team will continue operating from their existing Metairie office at 530 Metairie Road as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices United Properties.

Combined, the company has 86 agents.

“We’ve had our eye on the Metairie market for a long time,” said Jonathan Starns, brokerage founder and co-owner. “Yet to do so and add the most productive and respected office in the region, we feel we’ve hit a grand-slam home run.”

“We are proud and excited to join forces with Shaun and his team,” added Chase Muller, brokerage founder and co-owner. “The group is skilled, experienced and the best for its clients. They have a terrific service ethic and will represent our brokerage and our brand well.”

McCarthy, a native of the region, brings to the brand more than 25 years of local real estate experience. He said the United Properties alliance, combined with the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and its marketing and technology might, will help his team grow business to new heights.

“Jonathan Starns and Chase Muller are strong and respected operators; we’re happy to be part of their team,” McCarthy said. “In addition, our new brand carries the name of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., one of the world’s most respected corporations. The network’s digital-advertising platform, created in conjunction with VaynerMedia, generates huge attention; and its real estate technology is top of class with exciting innovations on the drawing board. With all these resources at our fingertips, it’s up to us to do what we do best – sell real estate and make our Metairie-area clients happy.”

As part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, McCarthy and his team gain access to the brand’s Global Network Platform, a powerful tool suite driving lead generation, marketing support, social media, video production/distribution and more. The brand also provides international listing syndication, relocation referrals, professional education and the exclusive Luxury Collection marketing program for high-end, resort-style listings.

Muller sees continued growth across the United Properties enterprise. “Our company thrives on attracting the finest and most experienced professionals in the marketplace, and then standing on our heads to ensure our clients achieve their real estate goals and aspirations,” he said. “We believe United Properties and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand present a compelling option for local real estate consumers and professionals alike.”

Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded United Properties’ union with McCarthy and his team, and its entrance to the Metairie market. “Jonathan Starns and Chase Muller reinforced the significance of their company name by uniting one of the most successful teams in the state of Louisiana,” Blefari said. “I commend Shaun McCarthy for making this commitment to the future growth of his skilled and successful team.”

© 2018 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.

TTI Acquires Compona AG of Switzerland

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s TTI, Inc. has acquired privately held Compona AG of Switzerland and the company’s German subsidiary Cosy Electronics GmbH.

Both Compona and Cosy are specialty distributors of interconnect products and provide services such as in-house assembly of specific connector ranges and full support on custom cable harnesses. The Compona Group is well known for their technical expertise, consistent quality and on-time delivery. Compona CEO, Riet Morell, will continue to lead Compona AG reporting to Glyn Dennehy, TTI President, EMEA.

The combined revenue and market share of TTI and Compona will create the largest specialty distributorship of interconnect, passive and electromechanical products in Switzerland. Cosy GmbH will expand the TTI footprint in Germany while also enhancing value added capabilities and technical expertise. In the face of increasing international competition, Compona’s business will benefit from TTI’s broad and deep stocking strategy and global warehouse network.

Dennehy said of the acquisition, ““We are proud to be bringing Compona and Cosy’s experienced and talented team, plus their high quality and specialist supplier line card, into the TTI Family of Companies and welcome the opportunity to enhance their already preferred status with their customer base.”

Urs Horat, founder and former owner of Compona AG, describes the acquisition as a perfect match. “After succession could not be found within the family and company, solutions were sought externally. We wanted to find a new owner who respects the values of the founders, appreciates the employees and supports the business in the long term. With TTI, we have found an internationally highly successful company that wants to continue to maintain the Compona brand, help to secure the future and to further expand its business.” Horat continued. “No changes are expected for employees and customers. The management team under CEO Riet Morell also remains unchanged.”

Paul Andrews, TTI Founder and Chief Executive Officer, welcomed his new associates, “It is a special occurrence when one family-founded business is able to offer another the next chapter for their employees and customers – we welcome the fine employees and customers of Compona and Cosy to the TTI and Berkshire Hathaway family.”

© 2018 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.

BNSF Logistics Acquires Unlimited Freight

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BNSF Logistics, a multi-modal third-party logistics service provider, has acquired Unlimited Freight, located in New Braunfels, Texas.

This acquisition strengthens BNSF Logistics’ service offering for flatbed movements across North America and provides additional local resources to support this global company.

“We are excited to add Unlimited Freight to our family,” BNSF Logistics President Dan Curtis said. “This addition brings talented employees with deep industry experience as well as valuable new customers to our rapidly growing organization and aligns with our goal to increase our geographic footprint.”

© 2018 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.

Kraft Heinz Covets Campbell

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Kraft Heinz is looking to acquire Campbell according to a report in the New York Post.

According to the Post, Kraft Heinz assumes that the soup company’s strategic review will lead to a sale, especially after its stock has tumbled 21% in the past six months, and it wants to be first in line.

In addition to its familiar soups, Campbell owns a host of top brands, including Pepperidge Farm breads, cookies and Goldfish crackers; Royal Dansk and Kjeldsens cookies; V8 beverages; Bolthouse Farms beverages, carrots and dressings; Plum Organics baby food; Swanson broths; Prego pasta sauces; Garden Fresh Gourmet fresh refrigerated salsas, dips and hummus, and Pace sauces.

Campbell has been seeking to spur its own growth through acquisition. In March, Campbell created a new snack division after its $4.87 billion cash acquisition of snack-maker Snyder-Lance. The deal was financed with $5.3 billion of bonds.

The company is projecting $10 billion in annual revenue from its snack brands, however the acquisition price was considered steep to say the least.

Ask any analyst about potential Berkshire Hathaway acquisitions and Campbell usually finds its way on the list.

Kraft Heinz was rebuffed in its megadeal for Unilever in February 2017, so smaller deals look to be the way forward for now.

With 3G Capital’s Bernardo Hees at the helm, Kraft Heinz has been in relentless cost-cutting mode since 2015, and Campbell has been in the midst of its own $500 million effort, so it’s not clear how much more savings Kraft Heinz can wring out of it.

In any case, Kraft Heinz, which is in third place worldwide among global food conglomerates, is clearly looking to move up the chart. With Berkshire’s money behind it, there’s little doubt they will.

© 2018 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 Acquires Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America has acquired Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate as well as an ownership interest in Ambassador Title Services. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Ambassador Real Estate serves the Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs, Fremont, and Dundee communities with 630 sales associates operating in five sales offices. In 2017, Ambassador closed more than $2.1 billion in sales volume.

Led by its president Vince Leisey, Ambassador Real Estate has experienced year-over-year market-share growth and is widely recognized for its progressive and collaborative culture. In 2017, the company was ranked in Entrepreneur Magazine and CultureIQ’s Top Company Cultures list as the 12th best company culture in the United States in the large-company category.

Leisey is among the real estate industry’s most recognized and charismatic leaders and is known for his inspirational leadership style and approach to driving employee and agent engagement and productivity through one-on-one coaching, teamwork, and communication. Along with his existing executive team and sales managers, he will continue to lead Ambassador Real Estate’s strategic planning and growth initiatives as well as manage the company’s day-to-day operations.

“I am thrilled to join HomeServices’ family of companies. When you combine the exceptional culture that is the core of Ambassador’s productivity and success with HomeServices’ commitment to delivering exceptional service to its buyers and sellers and its unsurpassed growth opportunities, there is no limit to what we can accomplish,” said Leisey.

“Vince brings strategic vision, an innovative spirit and proven leadership qualities and, together with his team of sales managers and agents, has built an extraordinary organization,” said Ron Peltier, HomeServices’ chairman and CEO.

“Developing strategies that drive innovation and productivity across HomeServices’ family of companies is key to our mission of delivering value to our agents and consumers,” added Peltier. “We look forward to working with Vince and his team and are very proud to welcome them to HomeServices.”

The acquisition further expands HomeServices’ presence in the Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska markets, which include Omaha-based CBSHOME and Lincoln-based Woods Bros. Realty and HOME Real Estate. They will continue to operate as independently-branded companies in their respective markets.

With this transaction, HomeServices has nearly 43,000 real estate professionals operating in nearly 900 offices across 30 states. In 2017, the company’s associates facilitated over $137 billion in residential real estate sales and nearly 360,000 transactions (including the 2017 and 2018-to-date acquisitions pro-forma), further strengthening HomeServices’ position of becoming the nation’s largest real estate brokerage company based on transactions.

© 2018 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 Brokerage Superpower Created in Pittsburgh

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Northwood Realty Services has announced it will acquire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty and join the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network in August operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty.

The union creates a brokerage superpower of more than 1,800 agents and 50 offices serving 22 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

The Preferred Realty and its family of companies would be the No. 1 residential real estate brokerage in greater Pittsburgh for sales volume, units and listings based on West-Penn MLS data through May. It would also be the No. 20 company across the entire industry for units based on REALTrends data; and No. 10 in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network for gross commission income.

Tom Hosack, Northwood Realty Services president and CEO, will serve as co-president and CEO of The Preferred Realty. Jim Saxon of The Preferred Realty will be co-president and COO. Northwood Realty Services’ Wendy West remains chairwoman of the brokerage’s board of directors, while Ron Croushore, CEO of The Preferred Realty, becomes the board’s vice chairman.

“This union is a wonderful fit for all parties involved,” said Hosack. “We are both family-run companies that care deeply about the success of our agents and employees. We are passionate about helping consumers with their real estate needs and aspirations. Our new brokerage is grounded in a shared philosophy and supported by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, one of the fastest-growing brands in real estate.”

Croushore said the transaction brings even more opportunities for the expanded brokerage. “We thoroughly cover Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio with top agents and a complete line of real estate services,” he explained. “Our economies of scale will help us innovate, market and grow our services. As part of my legacy I want to see The Preferred Realty grow for generations to come. We are certainly on that track.”

Saxon added that timing of the transaction is ideal. “Our markets are growing and changing, just like our competitors,” he explained. “It’s more important than ever for our agents to be supported with the most effective technology, tools, education and leadership to help them succeed. Combined, we will build on our best practices, processes and products, and compete in unprecedented ways.”

Founded in 1956, Northwood Realty Services is owned and operated by Everest Consulting Group, LP. The brokerage’s sister companies include mortgage lenders West Penn Financial Service Center and People First Financial, plus Everest Insurance, LLC, and Everest Settlement. It established a commercial real estate division in 2017.

The Preferred Realty family includes Preferred Insurance, Preferred Settlement Services, RE Educators, Preferred Property Management Company and Referral Associates of PA.

Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, applauded the union. “This is a great move for both companies,” he said. “Tom Hosack, Ron Croushore and Jim Saxon have built dream team that should dominate the landscape for years to come.”

© 2018 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 Acquires Largest Private Residential Real Estate Company in Texas

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America, Inc. has acquired the Ebby Halliday Companies, the largest private residential real estate company in Texas by sales volume.

The acquisition includes Ebby Halliday’s three real estate brands—Dallas-based Ebby Halliday, REALTORS® and Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate along with Fort Worth-based Williams Trew Real Estate—and their affiliated mortgage and title companies. Ebby Halliday’s portfolio of companies will continue to operate under their current brand names.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Dallas, Ebby Halliday Companies serves metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding communities with approximately 1,800 sales associates and staff operating in 35 offices across 12,000 square miles in North Texas. Ebby Halliday is the 12th largest residential real estate company in the United States by sales volume and the 17th largest by transaction sides, according to the 2017 REAL Trends 500 report. In 2017, the company closed $8.0 billion of sales volume.

Founded in 1945 as a one-woman, one-office firm by industry visionary Ebby Halliday, the firm has grown to become one of the nation’s foremost full-service real estate companies. The Ebby Halliday name is synonymous with providing clients the highest level of customer service, local expertise and resources, all delivered by a team of knowledgeable agents using the firm’s innovative technologies. Mary Frances Burleson, president and CEO and Ron Burgert, the company’s chief financial officer will continue to lead the firm’s strategic growth initiatives and manage day-to-day operations together with their sales management teams.

Also announced was the formation of the Ebby Halliday Foundation. Building on a lifetime of service by the foundation’s namesake and the simple saying she lived by, “Do something for someone every day,” the nonprofit organization will continue Ebby’s legacy of service to North Texas.

© 2018 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.