Berkshire Hathaway: Did you know?

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Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 12:00 am

» One of Warren Buffett's favorite early possessions was a nickel-plated money changer his Aunt Alice gave him for Christmas.

» Buffett promised his first investment partners, who put up a total of $105,000, that they would receive the first 4 percent profit plus 75 percent of added profits, with him getting the remaining 25 percent.

» Twelve people attended Berkshire's annual meeting in 1981.

Follow along Saturday with the latest from the shareholders meeting, chat with reporter Steve Jordon at 5 p.m. and see all of our Berkshire Hathaway coverage.
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» Buffett met Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger in 1959 at lunch at the Omaha Club. Both grew up in Omaha, but Munger, who is seven years older, had moved to Los Angeles.

» Buffett has appeared in cameo roles as himself on ABC's soap opera “All My Children.”

» Buffett met his chief reinsurance manager, Ajit Jain, in 1985. Jain writes billion-dollar insurance policies and helps produce the unclaimed premiums, or “float,” that Buffett uses in his investments.

» Pampered Chef joined the Berkshire fold in 2002 as the largest direct seller of kitchen tools in the U.S.

» At the peak of the financial system's crisis in 2008, Berkshire invested $15.5 billion in companies that otherwise could look only to the federal government for help, including $5 billion in Goldman Sachs and $3 billion in General Electric.

» Buffett's sisters are Doris and Roberta, or “Bertie.”

» Despite 2009's severe recession, several Berkshire-owned manufacturing and retail businesses reported improved profits even as sales contracted. They included Benjamin Moore paint, Borsheims Fine Jewelry, H.H. Brown shoes and Dairy Queen restaurants.

» Berkshire owns Shaw Industries, the world's largest manufacturer of tufted broadloom carpet.

» In 2006, Buffett announced he would give away most of his fortune in annual bequests of Berkshire stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and to four family foundations.

» Buffett's first job was at his grandfather's grocery store. Munger also worked there, but years earlier.

» Berkshire employs about 288,462 people, including 41,500 at BNSF Railway, 27,128 at GEICO, 26,820 at Fruit of the Loom and 22,312 at Shaw Industries.

» He bought his home in Omaha's Happy Hollow-Elmwood Park area in 1958 for $31,500.

» Buffett sold Chickletts gum to passers-by at age 5 and, at age 6, bought six-packs of Coke for 25 cents and sold bottles for a nickel each to vacationers at Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

» An avid bridge player, Buffett plays the game in person and on the Internet. He enjoys pingpong and golf but doesn't consider himself an expert.

» Each of his children heads a foundation funded by their father and their mother, the late Susan Thompson Buffett.

» Buffett is a registered Democrat, holding views that contrast sharply from his conservative Republican father.

Sources: World-Herald archives; “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,” by Roger Lowenstein; Berkshire 2009 annual report; “Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett,” by Andrew Kilpatrick

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