Warren Buffett News: Berkshire Wins ResCap’s Portfolio

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAYBuffett’s Berkshire Wins ResCap Auction With $1.5 Billion Offer (MoneyNews)
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) won an auction for a portfolio of Residential Capital LLC’s loans with a $1.5 billion bid, adding to Warren Buffett’s bet on a housing market recovery. The competing bidder was a group that included a unit of Credit Suisse Group AG, according to two people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. ResCap auctioned its mortgage-servicing business to Ocwen Financial Corp. on Oct. 24 for $3 billion. Ocwen beat Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. in an auction that would create at least the fifth-largest U.S. mortgage servicer.

Buffett’s MidAmerican to Develop Canadian Power Projects (BusinessWeek)
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed to fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by TransAlta Corporation (TSE:TA) in Canada, where the companies say almost $200 billion in new investment is needed during the next 20 years. “At MidAmerican, we have been seeking an entry point to the Canadian electricity generation market, where we see strong potential for growth,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Greg Abel said in a statement today. The companies didn’t put a value on the venture or planned spending. TransAlta, based in Calgary, will build, operate and maintain the plants.

Warren Buffett up to his Shins in Betting on a Housing-related Recovery; Zillow Lists Foreclosures (MortgageNewsDaily)
Here’s a rare editorial comment from me if folks care to read it. I found the MBA’s conference earlier this week to be well attended, informative, and upbeat. It reinforces what I have believed for much of my career: that the high percentages of people in this biz are honest, hard-working, and actually care about doing a good job. Sure the percentage ebbs and flows, but most who don’t or aren’t have left the industry. And sure the money is very good for individuals and companies right now – that won’t last, at least not for everyone. But the people I came in contact with at this week’s conference, either meeting for the first time or folks I have known since the mid-1980’s, were optimistic, well informed, and happy to be there. Sometimes conferences are not much fun functioning on a severe lack of sleep, trying to do one’s regular job while having the day filled with meetings, or wondering at the lack of folks under the age of 35 who attended. But if the conference is any indication, the industry continues on, much to the relief of millions of borrowers.

Bombardier in Fleet-Sale Talks After Buffett’s NetJets Order (BusinessWeek)
Bombardier, Inc.(TSE:BBD.B) is in talks to sell more of its largest business aircraft models to fleet operators after a record order from Warren Buffett’s NetJets four months ago. “NetJets has led the way, but we expect more of that to come,” Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier’s business- aircraft unit, said in a telephone interview before the National Business Aviation Association’s annual conference, which starts Oct. 30 in Orlando, Florida. “We can see it coming. We have ongoing campaigns.”

Favorite stock of the rich? Not Berkshire (InvestmentNews)
U.S. millionaires would rather match the stock market through an exchange-traded index fund than try to beat it using higher-fee hedge funds or billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire (BRK/A) Hathaway Inc. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) surged to the No. 2 stock pick in an annual survey of the Tiger 21 investing network’s members scheduled to be released today. The security, which tracks the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) and is offered by Boston-based State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT), followed No. 1-ranked Apple Inc. and beat No. 3 Berkshire Hathaway after failing to make the top 10 last year.

Guard Insurance to expand as sale finalized (TheTimes-Tribune)
The sale of Guard Insurance Group in Wilkes-Barre to a unit of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will mean growth and additional jobs, the company’s chief operating officer said Thursday. Clal U.S. Holdings, which owns Guard Insurance Group, was sold to Nebraska-based National Indemnity Co. for $221 million, according to a report from Clal to the Israeli stock exchange. The sale was completed Thursday. Carl Witkowski, chief operating officer of Guard Insurance Group, said National Indemnity Co. was interested in Guard because the company was successful and profitable during some difficult years in the recent past.

Ted Wechsler: The Next Warren Buffett? (BusinessWeek)
A knack for finding value in distressed companies is helping Ted Weschler carve out a role at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A) that goes beyond the stockpicking job he was hired for. Since joining Warren Buffett’s company in January, the 51-year-old former hedge fund manager has made a bid for a bankrupt mortgage business, negotiated a deal that pushed Berkshire deeper into newspaper publishing, and reviewed possible takeover targets—in addition to running a multibillion-dollar equity portfolio.

Buffett May Feast on Ackman’s Procter & Gamble Bet: Street Whispers (Minyanville)
The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) better than expected third-quarter earnings may help the company’s embattled chief executive Bob McDonald prove a plan to cut billions in costs is working. P&G’s Thursday earnings also signal that an activist push by William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management is bearing fruit for investors, as some top shareholders like Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) hit the exits. At issue for P&G is whether CEO McDonald can lead a right-sizing of the consumer products giants’ costs, as investors like Ackman of Pershing Square clamor for C-Suite change and a refocus on new product research and development.

Buffet ready to make deals (WindsorStar)
Warren Buffett sees clear signs that the global economy is slowing, although the U.S. economy is “inching ahead” as other regions decline, the Berkshire Hathaway chief executive officer said on Wednesday. Yet despite the weakness, Buffett said he was “salivating” to make another major acquisition, adding that two deals of around $20 billion each had fallen through this year. Buffett said the rate of decline was larger in Asia than in Europe, although the Asian economies are declining off a higher base.