Warren Watch: Buffett returns favor for 'Breaking Bad' cast

Warren Buffett and actor Aaron Paul at the “Breaking Bad” final-season premiere at Lincoln Center in New York last week.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul parodied their “Breaking Bad” TV show characters with Warren Buffett for the warm-up movie shown at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders meeting in Omaha in May.

Last week Buffett returned the favor, playing himself on the red carpet for the premiere of the final season's first episode at Lincoln Center in New York City.

On the AMC show, Cranston plays Walter White, a chemistry teacher who turns to drug-making after he's diagnosed with cancer. Paul plays Jesse Pinkman, also a drugmaker.

In the Berkshire parody, their product was peanut brittle, not methamphetamine. Buffett gruffly took over the rogue snack operation and merged it with Berkshire's See's Candies.

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But he was all smiles last week in New York.

“I'm a huge fan,” he told BuzzFeed. “Not only is the story compelling — it's really an interesting story — but the acting is superb. It's not just one. They are great, great actors. I was telling Anna (Gunn), she and Meryl Streep are the two best actresses in the country, in my opinion. And Aaron, and obviously Bryan, they are so good.

“This is my No. 1 show, by far.”

Charitable in India

Buffett's 2011 philanthropy/business visit to India and the recent shutdown of Berkshire's auto insurance agency there prompted Sandeep Singh to write in the Freepress Journal of India that businessmen from India have long supported charitable causes.

“The Indian Businessman does have sound understanding of business and philanthropy, never mind the media hyperbole,” Singh wrote.

During their visit, Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates met with some wealthy Indians to discuss philanthropy. “The duo apparently planned to persuade Indian billionaires to part with a portion of their riches for charity,” Singh wrote.

“While one is not against Buffett, what pains is Buffett being the guiding force for philanthropy among Indian businessmen,” the story said, adding:

“Indian businessmen have always created wealth and have never waited ... to think of philanthropy. Business and philanthropy always go hand in hand and grow in direct proportion. ...

“It is fashionable to call the Indian businessman a miser, but he is the one who spends money on the public good also. The Indian businessman also understands that he is the custodian of wealth for the society.”

MiTek acquires Benson

Berkshire's MiTek Industries division has acquired Benson Industries LLC, a maker of curtain walls for commercial, residential and industrial buildings.

MiTek, based in Chesterfield, Mo., supplies engineered structures, equipment, software and other services to the building industry in more than 40 countries. MiTek CEO Tom Manenti said Benson's management team, including CEO Lou Niles, would remain in place, operating Benson as a subsidiary based in Portland, Ore.

Benson's projects include One World Trade Center, the recladding of the United Nations Secretariat in New York City, and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Coal comments scrutinized

Buffett's recent prediction that coal would gradually decline in energy importance raised some smoke in Indiana, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette said in an editorial.

“Indiana officials were giddy over Warren Buffett's appearance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Geico building in Carmel,” the newspaper said. “But they probably were none too pleased by the famed CEO of Berkshire Hathaway's comments about Indiana coal at the event. ...

“Indiana gets 90 percent of its electric power from coal-fired power plants. And state leaders have long been resistant to measures encouraging renewable energy development or becoming less dependent on coal.”

The paper quoted a statement by local Sierra Club representative Jodi Perras:

“If Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of our lifetime, is forecasting the transition away from coal nationwide, then certainly our elected leaders and electric providers in Indiana should ensure that our state is making the sound transition from dirty coal-fired power plants to affordable and abundant clean-energy sources like wind and solar.”

Help for Irish taxpayers

A Berkshire agreement in Ireland could save taxpayers there $120 million, the Irish Independent reported.

Charlie Weston wrote that Buffett is believed to have personally signed off on the agreement to provide reinsurance to cover as much as $925million in reinsurance risk for Vhi Healthcare, Ireland's largest health insurer.

The one-year Berkshire agreement, which may be extended to three years, means Vhi would need less money from the state to fulfill its agreement with the European Commission to shore up its reserves, the newspaper said. The reinsurance premium received by Berkshire wasn't disclosed.

The Omaha World-Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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