Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has struck what is being called the biggest deal in food industry history, a $28 billion acquisition of ketchup giant H.J. Heinz. But don’t think that means Buffett is done buying.
“I’m ready for another elephant,” Buffett told CNBC. He said that Berkshire had about $47 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2012. It’s putting $12 billion to $13 billion toward the Heinz deal, which also involves private equity firm 3G Capital Management. Given that his firm wants to keep about $20 billion of cash on hand, that leaves another $15 billion to spend if Buffett can find the right opportunity.
3G will be primarily responsible for running Heinz, which will remain a private company, Buffett said. The deal was struck at a price that’s about 20% above Heinz’s all-time high, but Buffett said it’s worth it. “It’s our kind of company,” he said. In a press release, he added, “Heinz has strong, sustainable growth potential based on high quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management and great tasting products. Their global success is a testament to the power of investing behind strong brand equities and the strength of their management team and processes. We are very pleased to be a part of this partnership.”