Warren Buffett – Career Timeline (1936 to 2013)

Warren Buffett – Career Timeline (1936 to 2013)

I have always curios to know what are all the investments Warren Buffett has every made in his career.

Hence, I have made an attempt to gather information from various sources (given at the end of the post).

1936 – Warren started selling Juicy Fruit chewing gums as packs. When asked for 1 piece, he would not sell and he thought he may be left behind with 4 pieces which could not be sold too. He made 2 cents per pack profit.

Warren used to purchase Coca-Cola in six packs for 25 cents from his grandfather’s grocery store – Buffett and Son. He will sell each Coke can for 5 cents. Profit of 5 cents per pack.

1941 – Warren was 11 years old and buys his first stock – 6 Cities Service (now known as CITGO – an Oil company) shares (3 for himself and 3 for his sister Doris) at $38 per share. That is all the money he had at that time. (Little or No diversification, which he will continue to do throughout investment career) Share price fell to $27 and within a short span climbs to $40. They sold the stock at $40, but, the stock shot up to $202 in next few years.

He later cited this experience as an early lesson in patience in investing.

1943 – He files his first tax return and deducts his bike as a work expense for $35.

1945 – Warren makes $175 monthly selling Washington Post newspapers and saves $1200 to buy a 40 acre farmland in Omaha – Nebraska

1947 – Warren joins with his friend Donald Danly stars a company called Wilson Coin Operated Machines, to buy a pinball machine at a cost of $25 and places in nearby barber shop. Wilson Coin makes $50 per week for Warren and Donald…Warren does tax returns for himself and Wilson Coin. In next few months they owned 3 machines and a year later sold them for $1200.

1949 to 1954 – Warren’s savings reaches $9800. Warren Buffett joins Columbia University and learns from Benjamin Graham. He was willing to work for Benjamin Graham, even for free, but was not offered a job. Warren returned to Omaha, purchased a Texaco station, but did not go well. He was also working as an Investment salesman for Buffett-Falk & Company, at his father’s brokerage firm.

In 1954, Benjamin Graham called him again and offered a job for $12000 a year. Here, he worked closely with Walter Schloss.

1956 – Graham decided to retire and folded his business. Warren’s savings have grown from $9,800 to $140,000. Warren returned to Omaha and on May 1, created Buffett Associates Ltd. Seven family members and friends invested totally $105000. Warren invested only $100.

1957 – Buffett added few more partnerships and was managing totally 5 partnerships, all from his home.

1958 – At the end of 3 years, Buffett has doubled the partner’s money

1959 – Warren was introduced to Charlie Munger by his friend Edwin Davis in a dinner. Charlie Munger later becomes the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

1961 – Buffett is running seven partnerships in 1961; Buffett Associates, Buffett Fund, Dacee, Emdee, Glenoff, Mo-Buff, and Underwood. Partnerships were worth few millions, Buffett made his first million dollar investment in Dempster – a windmill manufacturing company. Sanborn Map Company accounted for 35% of the partnerships’ assets. He explained to the partners that in 1958 Sanborn was selling at $45 per share when the value of its investment portfolio itself was at $65 per share which meant that it was undervalued by $20 per share with a map business coming in for nothing.

Buffett reveals that he earned a spot on the board of Sanborn.

1962 – Buffett went to New York to meet his old acquaintances to include more partners and raise capital. Collected few hunderds of thousand dollars. Buffett partnerships was worth $7.2 million. Buffett merged all partnerships into one and named as Buffett Partnerships Ltd. Munger introduced Warren to Harry Bottle who cut costs, laid off workers, and turned Dempster to generate cash. Buffett noticed Berkshire Hathaway selling at $8 a share and started buying aggressively.

1963 – Buffett sold Dempster for $2.3 million gain, 3x times the invested amount. Buffett’s partnerships began aggressively purchasing Berkshire paying $14.86 per share while the company had working capital was at $19 per share, this did not include the value of fixed assets. Buffett partnership becomes a single largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway.

1964 – Due to a financial crisis, American Express share falls to $35. Buffett found the value and started buying aggressively.

1965 – Buffett invested $4 million in Walt Disney after a meeting with Walt Disney himself – almost 5% of the company. Buffett takes entire control of Berkshire Hathway, and named Ken Chase to be the CEO.

1966 – Buffett closes the partnership to new money. Buffett wrote in his letter “unless it appears that circumstances have changed (under some conditions added capital would improve results) or unless new partners can bring some asset to the partnership other than simply capital, I intend to admit no additional partners to BPL.”

Warren invests in Hochschild, Kohn (Departmental Store in Baltimore).

Warren’s personal investment in the partnership increased to approximately $6.8 million.

1967 – Buffett Partnership now owns 59.5% of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway paid 10 cents as dividend. This is the first and only dividend it has paid ever.

Partnership was worth $65 million. Buffett’s personal investment was $10 million. Buffett told his partners that in the current raging bull market he could not find good investments. He also briefly considered leaving investing to pursue other interests. American Express share reached $180, making $20 million profit on $13 million investment. Berkshire Hathaway acquired National Indemnity Insurance for $8.6 million. Berkshire acquired National Fire and Marine Insurance Company.

1968 – Partnership was worth $104 million.

1969 – Berkshire acquired Sun Newspapers (Publishing), Rockford Bank (Banking), Illinois National Bank (Banking) and Blacker Printing Company (Publishing).

Buffett decided to close the partnership and liquidated the assets to the partners.

From 1957-1969 Partnership’s returns were 29.5%. Warren has three recommendations 1. Partners consider Bill Ruane’s Sequoia Fund or 2. Investors take cash or 3. Take shares in Berkshire Hathaway that Warren now controls

Warren’s personal stake was worth $25 million.

1970 – The Buffett partnership is completely dissolved and divested of its assets. Warren owns 29% of the company and becomes the chairman.

1972 – Through Blue Chips Stamp Company, Berkshire buys See’s Candies (Chocolates) and Wesco Financial Corp (Financial Services)

1973 – Berkshire started buying stocks in the Washington Post company (Publishing). Buffett became close friends with Katharine Graham, who controlled the company and its flagship newspaper, and became a member of its board of directors.

1974 – Due to falling stock prices, the value of Berkshire Hathaway portfolio began to fall. Warren’s personal network falls by more than 50%

1975 – Buffett merges Berkshire and Diversified – the firm controlled by Munger. Munger gets 2% stock of Berkshire and becomes its vice chairman.

1976 –Berkshire invests $4 million in GEICO (Insurance) when its stock price was just above $2. Until 1996 Buffett was investing in GEICO regularly until 1996, when Berkshire completely acquired the company. Berkshire subsidiary National Fire and Marine Insurance Company acquired Central Fire & Casualty Company, and Cypress Insurance Company.

1977 – Berkshire invested in the Buffalo Evening News (Publishing) for $32.5 million. He also invests in Interpublic (Advertising) and Ogilvy & Mather (Advertising), Kaiser Industries (Metals and Mining), and Knight-Rider (Publishing)

1978 – Berkshire invested in SAFECO (Insurance), ABC Broadcasting (TV Network)

1979 – Berkshire was trading at $290 per share. Warren’s personal networth was approximately $100 million. Was receiving $50000 per year as salary. Berkshire started to buy shares in General Foods (Foods), Handy & Harman (Metals and Mining), Affiliated Publications (Publishing), Media General (Publishing), FW Woolworth (Retail), Amerada Hess (Oil), Precision Steel Warehouse (Materials and Construction)

1980 – Berkshire buys stock of RJ Reynolds (Tobacco), ALCOA (Metals and Mining), Pinkerton (Professional Services), Cleveland-Cliffs Iron (Metals and Mining), National Detroit (Banking), Times Mirror (Publishing), National Student Marketing (Financial Services)

1981 – Berkshire buys stock of Arcata (Forest products/Paper), and GATX (machinery)

1982 – Buffalo Evening News was the only local newspaper of Buffalo and its name is changed to Buffalo News. The newspaper earned $19 million in its first year without competition. By the late eighties the Buffalo News was earning $40 million/year. Berkshire invested in Time (Publishing), Crum & Forster (Insurance)

1983 – Berkshire merged with Blue Chip Stamps, which a priori was a majority owned subsidiary of Berkshire.

Berkshire Hathaway purchases Nebraska Furniture Mart (Furniture) for $60 million.

Berkshire portfolio was worth $1.3 billion. Begins with $775 per share and ends the year with $1310 per share.

Warren’s personal network was $620 million, and makes to the Forbes’ list of millionaires for the first time.

1984 – Berkshire buys $139 million of Washington Public Power Supply System Bonds.

Berkshire invested in Exxon (Oil), Northwest Industries (Diversified)

1985 – Buffett shuts down Berkshire Hathaway’s textile business. Warren helped merger between ABC TV Network and Capital Cities (Communications). He was forced to leave the Board of Washington Post, (as the legislation prohibited him from sitting on the boards of both Capital Cities and Washington Post). Buffett purchased Scott and Fetzer – who boast products like Kirby vacuums and World Book Encyclopedia. Berkshire also buys Fecheimer Brothers (Uniform company)

Berkshire invested in Beatrice (Food).

1986 – Berkshire acquired Fechheimer Brothers Company. Berkshire invested in Lear Seagler (Aerospace)

Berkshire passes above $3000 per share.

1987 – Stock markets crashed in October, and Berkshire lost 25% of its value. Share price dropped from approximately $4200 to around $3100. Buffett personally lost $320 million. Berkshire buys 12% of Salomon Brothers (Investment Bank)

1988 – Buffett started buying Coca-Cola (Beverages), eventually took 7% stake in the company for $1.2 billion.

Berkshire buys stock of Freddie Mac (Financial Services)

1989 – Berkshire acquired Borsheim’s (Jewellery) from Friedman Family. Berkshire rose from $4800 to $8000 per share.

Berkshire buys stock of Gillette (Toiletries). Warren’s personal fortune rose to $3.8 billion.

1990 – Berkshire buys 10% of Wells Fargo (Banking).

1991 – Berkshire acquired H. H. Brown (Footwear) and started buying M&T Bank (Banking). Buffett served as CEO of Solomon Brothers following firm’s treasury bond trading scandal. Berkshire invested in Guinness (Beverages)

1992 – Berkshire acquired Central States Indemnity Company (Insurance) of Omaha. Buffett continued serving as interim Chairman of Solomon Brothers following firm’s treasury bond trading scandal.

Warren purchases General Dynamics (Aeorspace) and Berkshire becomes the largest shareholder

Berkshire’s stock goes over $10,000 per share

1993 – Berkshire acquired Dextor (Footwear). Turned out to be a bad investment for Berkshire.

1994 – The Bestseller “The Warren Buffett Way” by Robert G. Hagstrom Jr. is published.

Berkshire invests in McDonald’s (Restaurants), Gannett (Publishing), PNC Bank (Banking)

1995 – Berkshire acquired Helzberg’s Diamond Shops (Jewellery) and R. C. Willey (Home Furnishings)

Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting is so well attended that it is held in Omaha’s Holiday Convention Center for the first time. Berkshire stock crosses $25,000 per share

1996 – Berkshire acquired remaining stake in GEICO Corporation and turned GEICO into a 100% owned Berkshire subsidiary. Berkshire acquired Flight Safety International (provider of professional aviation training).

Wesco a subsidiary of Berkshire, acquires Kansas Bankers Surety Co (Insurance).

1997 – Berkshire acquired Star Furniture (Furniture) and International Dairy Queen (Fast Food restaurants), and also invests in Travellers (Insurance)

Buffett invested 2% of his investment portfolio in silver.

Buffett makes a huge investment in US Airways (Airlines) – turned out to be a bad investment decision

1998 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • General Re, reinsurer (Re-insurance company)
  • Executive Jet (later renamed NetJets) (Private Aviation)

1999 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Jordan’s Furniture Company, the Massachusetts based furniture powerhouse.
  • Part of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, utility company.

2000 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Ben Bridge (Jewellery)
  • Berkshire acquired CORT, the leading national provider of rental furniture, accessories and related services in the growing “rent-to-rent” furniture rental industry.
  • Justin Industries includes Acme Building Brands – Acme Brick Company.
  • Shaw Industries, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of tufted broadloom carpet.
  • Benjamin Moore & Co. Benjamin Moore, a leading manufacturer and retailer of premium paints, stains and industrial coatings, was founded in 1883.

Buffett is named the top money manager of the 20th century in a survey by the Carson Group, ahead of Peter Lynch and John Templeton.

2001 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Johns Manville Corp, a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building products.
  • MiTek, headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri, the world’s leading provider of steel connector products, design engineering software and ancillary services for the global building components market.
  • XTRA Corporation, which leases, primarily on an operating basis, over-the-road trailers, marine containers, and intermodal equipment, including intermodal trailers, chassis and domestic containers.
  • H&R Block (Financial Services)
  • Moody’s Corporation (Financial Services)

Insurance claims from the 9/11 terrorist attacks total $2.28 billion. Buffett apologizes to his shareholders for failing to foresee the risk and properly price insurance coverage.

2002 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Larson-Juhl – a custom picture frame maker
  • Fruit of the Loom, Inc., apparel manufacturer.
  • Albecca, which designs, manufactures, and distributes a complete line of high-quality, branded custom picture framing products.
  • Garan, a leading manufacturer of children’s, women’s, and men’s apparel bearing the private labels of its customers as well as various of its own trademarks, including GARANIMALS.
  • CTB, a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of equipment and systems for the poultry, hog, egg production and grain industries.
  • The Pampered Chef from its founder and Chairman, Doris K. Christopher, and her family. The Pampered Chef is the largest branded kitchenware company and the largest direct seller of housewares in the U.S., with more than 67,000 “Kitchen Consultant” sales representatives.

Berkshire and other investment groups buy $500 million in bonds issued by Level 3 Communications, the former Omaha fiber network company.

Buffett entered in $11 billion worth of forward contracts to deliver US dollars against other currencies. By April 2006, his total gain on these contracts was over $2 billion.

2003 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • McLane, based in Temple, Texas, one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors of groceries and nonfood items to convenience stores, drug stores, wholesale clubs, mass merchandisers, quick service restaurants, theaters and others.
  • Clayton Homes, Inc., a manufactured housing company for $1.7 billion.
  • Burlington Industries, one of the world’s most diversified marketers and manufacturers of softgoods for apparel and interior furnishings.

2004 – Bill Gates Elected as Director of Berkshire Hathaway.

2005 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Medical Protective Company (Medical malpractice carrier)
  • Forest River from its founder and CEO, Peter J. Liegl. Forest River is a leading manufacturer of leisure vehicles in the U.S. The company manufactures a complete line of motorized and towable recreation vehicles, utility trailers, buses, boats and manufactured houses.
  • Despite insurance business losses of about $2.5 billion caused by Hurricane Katrina, Berkshire records a $5.6 billion gain in its net worth.
  • Berkshire subsidiary Shaw Industries acquired Honeywell International.
  • Procter and Gamble (Consumer Goods)
  • Anheuser-Busch (Food and Beverage)

Berkshire stock crosses $90,000 per share

2006 – Buffett announced in June that he would give away more than 80%, or about $37 billion, of his $44 billion fortune to five foundations in annual gifts of stock, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Berkshire stock crosses $100,000 per share

Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Business Wire, a privately held company that is a leading global distributor of corporate news, multimedia and regulatory filings.
  • Russell Corporation, a leading branded athletic and sporting goods company.
  • 80% of the Iscar Metalworking Companies (IMC) in a transaction that values IMC at US$5 billion. The Iscar Metalworking Companies is a privately held group, with operations worldwide, and is an industry leader in the metal cutting tools business through its Iscar, TaeguTec, Ingersoll and other IMC group companies.
  • Successful completion of its acquisition of Applied Underwriters, the industry leader in integrated workers’ compensation solutions and all of its subsidiaries — including its North American Casualty insurance companies.
  • TTI, Inc., a privately held electronic component distributor headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Southern Energy Homes – an electric utility company.
  • Brooke Sports (Apparel)

2007 – In a letter to shareholders, Buffett announced that he was looking for a younger successor or perhaps successors to run his investment business. Buffett had previously selected Lou Simpson, who runs investments at Geico, to fill that role. However, Simpson is only six years younger than Buffett.

Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Boat America Corporation, which owns Seaworthy Insurance Company and controls the Boat Owners Association of the United States.
  • Leading jewelry manufacturers Bel-Oro International and Aurafin LLC, which were merged into Richline Group.
    60% of Marmon Holdings, Inc. formerly owned by Jay Pritzker family.
  • SE Homes (Materials and Construction)
  • BoatUS (Boat America Corporation is the main supplier of towing, insurance and other services to the nonprofit boater’s association)

2008 – Berkshire acquired the following companies:

  • Marmon Holdings – a holding company that owns companies that produce electrical components, industrial components and transportation equipment, and provide services including construction and retail solutions.
  • Coachmen Industries – recreational vehicle manufacturer.
  • Mars Inc (Food and Beverage)

2009 – Berkshire subsidiary Shaw Industries acquired Sportexe (a leading synthetic turf company).

Berkshire acquired Cavalier Homes (home building company).

A $5 billion “paper” loss on investments and derivatives triggers a first-quarter loss by Berkshire, its biggest since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But earnings rebound later in the year.

2010 – Warren buys the entire railroad company of Burlington Northern for $44 billion

As a result of this acquisition, Berkshire entered the S&P 500, replacing Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Berkshire subsidiary McLane Company acquired Kahn Ventures.

Berkshire invested in Munich Re (Insurance)

2011 – Berkshire acquired Lubrizol (Speciality Chemicals).

2012 – Berkshire acquired Omaha World-Herald (Publishing), IBM (Technology)

2013 – Berkshire acquired 50% stake in H. J. Heinz Company (Food and Beverage)

As of 19th July 2013, Berkshire Hathaway share’s closing price is $1,78,275.00





Filed under Investing

2 responses to “Warren Buffett – Career Timeline (1936 to 2013)

  1. By following Buffet’s history we can get several ideas to do business or other ventures. Nice article Balaji.

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