A recent Barron’s article characterized last month’s “outsized” purchase of $19.9 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway common A shares by the company’s vice chairman Ajit Jain as a bullish sign for the stock.
It says that the “veteran insurance mastermind” Jain seemed to be taking advantage of a 12% decline in Berkshire class A shares from their October high of around $336,000, when he paid an average of $296,515 for 67 shares, the article notes. The move, it says, also highlights Berkshire’s unique compensation system—”Berkshire has never given stock compensation—options or restricted stock—to its employees or directors…This means that if Berkshire executives and other employees want to own stock, they have to buy it in the open market.” Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger are described as “believers in cash compensation, and that’s how Berkshire’s managers are paid.”
Jain and Greg Abel, CEO of Berkshire’s big utility operations, are considered the two leading candidates to succeed the 88-year-old Buffett as CEO. The article reports that Jain’s purchase—his first since becoming vice chairman– brings his Berkshire holdings to about $120 million.