Berkshire Hathaway to Buy Novelty Company

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) announced today that it will acquire Oriental Trading Co., an Omaha, Neb.-based direct retailer that sells items including party supplies and novelties.

"We are delighted to have [the Oriental Trading team] join the Berkshire Hathaway family and continue their quest to make the world more fun," Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett said in a press release. "They have had several changes to ownership in the past, but OTC has a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway. "

Oriental Trading has 2,000 employees and offers more than 40,000 products, "from pink flamingos, party supplies and wedding favors to holiday decorations, beading supplies and crafts."

Berkshire Hathaway did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, but The Wall Street Journal quoted what it termed an individual "with knowledge of the deal" as saying the sale price was around $500 million.

Oriental Trading has been in business for more than 80 years, and won some renown when CEO Sam Taylor was the subject of an episode of the CBS (NYSE: CBS  ) reality TV show Undercover Boss earlier this year. The company had previously emerged from bankruptcy protection in February 2011.

Berkshire Hathaway said in its announcement that it expected the acquisition to close by the end of November.

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Eric Volkman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 03, 2012, at 5:43 PM, neamakri wrote:

    "direct retailer"? How does that differ from being a retailer?

    Perhaps someone could give me an example, for instance how OTC sells to customers differently than Walmart or Macy's.

  • Report this Comment On November 04, 2012, at 10:28 AM, JBRodgers wrote:

    I believe that OTC does not have any stores. They offer a catalog and website. They are a direct marketer.

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