Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway ‘overpaid’ for Kraft following last week’s stock plunge


Warren Buffett said Monday that Berkshire Hathaway paid too much for Kraft, noting he might have misjudged certain aspects about the company.

“I was wrong in a couple of ways about Kraft Heinz,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick on “Squawk Box.” “We overpaid for Kraft.”

“It’s still a wonderful business in that it uses about $7 billion of tangible assets and earns $6 billion pre-tax on that,” Buffett said. “But we, and certain predecessors, we paid $100 billion in tangible assets. So for us, it has to earn $107 billion, not just the $7 billion that the business employs.”

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Buffett added he had no intention of selling his stake in Kraft and that it would be difficult for Berkshire to even do so at this point because the company’s position in the stock is so big.

Buffett teamed up with Brazilian private equity company 3G Capital in 2013 to acquire cash-flush, strong global brand Heinz. The Oracle of Omaha later worked with 3G to help finance Heinz’s $49 billion merger with Kraft Foods Group in 2015.

Buffett’s comments come after Berkshire Hathaway released its fourth-quarter earnings. Berkshire Hathaway’s quarterly earnings took a hit as the company took a $3 billion write-down on its investment in Kraft Heinz. Berkshire disclosed the write down after Kraft Heinz slashed the value of its Oscar Mayer and Kraft brands by $15.4 billion.

Kraft’s write-down sent the stock plummeting more than 27 percent on Friday. Berkshire is one of Kraft Heinz’s biggest shareholders.

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