Thursday, May 11, 2006

Me! Buy me!!

Squeegie the front windows, splash a coat of paint on the exterior trim, and hide that chair with the worn upholstery. Billionaire Warren Buffet is on a shopping spree, and restaurants have been known to snag his attention.

The man has enough money to cruise down Restaurant Row and announce he’ll take everything on the left side of the street. According to The Wall Street Journal, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company has $45 billion in cash on hand for acquisitions, or enough to bag a sizeable foodservice operation. And the so-called Bard of Omaha has let it be known that he’d prefer to spend it sooner rather than later.

Right now, the only restaurant brand in Buffet’s stunning portfolio is International Dairy Queen, which he bought after regularly visiting a unit near his Nebraskan home. But we know the man has to eat, and that he’s prone to buying companies with whom he’s had personal experience. He likes Dilly Bars, so he buys DQ for several hundred million.

But before you send him a muffin basket with an attached invitation to dinner, keep in mind that Buffet has professed an infatuation at present with energy companies—no surprise, given how sales in that sector have vertically climbed.

Unrivaled as an opportunity-spotter, Buffet has also expressed interest in buying abroad, since overseas markets could offer better bargains than the swap-a-rama that the U.S. business scene has become.

Indeed, Buffet spent his weekend initialing an agreement to invest $4 billion in Israel-based Iscar Metalworking Cos.

But the man and his company have enough money to buy Idaho if they so chose. To put it in perspective: A management-led investment group is trying to buy Aramark Corp. for $5.8 billion, which would be the biggest foodservice acquisition ever. Berkshire Hathaway—really just the shell name for Buffet and longtime partner Charlie Munger—could purchase that company and still have enough to acquire Rhode Island or Delaware.

So don’t be surprised to see a significant foodservice player added to Buffet’s holdings in the coming months.

Meanwhile, if he’s looking to adopt, I hope he realizes that he can contact me here.

1 comment:

  1. The Restaurant industry has been taking a beating reciently in the would be a pretty resonable time for him to buy, what companies would be good candidates for him to buy does anyone have any insight on what he is looking for?