11 Things in Your House Making Warren Buffett Money

Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio of businesses is so big, could there be some thing in your own home you didn't know Buffett owned?

Apr 22, 2014 at 7:36AM

Warren Buffett has built Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) into a conglomerate of more than 200 wholly owned subsidiaries. Including partially owned businesses, Buffett has collected some of the best and most recognizable brands in the world. 

Brands so recognizable on their own, in fact, you may not even realize your home is filled with things either owned or partially owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

As we countdown the 11 days until Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting, listed below are 11 things in your house making Warren Buffett money. 

11. Jewelry 
What would the king of investing be without diamonds on his crown? In 1989, Buffett acquired the one of the highest volume single-store jewelers in the country, Omaha-based Borsheim Jewelery -- followed by the larger Helzberg's Diamond Shops and Ben Bridge Jeweler in 1995 and 2000, respectively. 

Combined, these companies have been in business for more than 300 years.

10. Underwear


According to a study by Victoria Secret, the average women owns 34 pairs of underwear. Men probably own less, but that's still whole lot of underwear. That's why it wasn't so surprising when, in 2002, Buffett was willing to pay more than $800 million for one of the most recognizable brands, Fruit of the Loom.

The company does billions in revenue per year through its many subsidiaries, including women's lines: Vanity Fair, Curvation, Vassarette, and Best Form.

9. Furniture
No house would be complete without furniture, and neither would Berkshire's portfolio of businesses. Buffett owns Nebraska Furniture Mart, which operates two of the highest-volume home furnishing stores in the country – according to Buffett, each does about $450 million annually in sales. 

That's accompanied by: Jordan's Furniture in the great Boston area, R.C. Willey Home Furnishings on the West Coast, Star Furniture Company in Texas, and the furniture rental company CORT.

8. Sports apparel
In 2006, Berkshire acquired the Russell Corporation, one of today's premier athletic brands. Along with marketing and branding apparel for nearly every sport, Russell is a leader in custom sports uniforms.


Included in the purchase in 2006 came Russell's subsidiary, Brooks. Brooks is among the most renowned running-focused shoe and apparel companies in the country.

7. Sports equipment
Clean out your garage and you're bound to find some Berkshire-owned sports equipment. Tied up in the complex web of Fruit of the Loom and Russell is Spalding.


Spalding makes just about every kind of ball you can think of, including the official Basketball of the NBA. The company also owns Bike and Dudley. Bike is probably most famous for their male athletic supportive cups, and Dudley as a women's softball brand.

6. Shoes and boots
For all my cowboys out there, Justin Brands has some of the finest U.S.-made boots with brand names like: Justin, Tony Lama, Nocona and Chippewa.

For everyone else, there's H.H. Brown Shoe Company. In business for more than 130 years, H.H. Brown operates 40 Super Shoe locations, as well as top brands including, Born, Korks, Vintage, Corcoran. And if you're a bowler, you may recognize the number-one name in bowling shoes, Dexter.

5. Everyday chemicals
Lubrizol is a tech-driven company that works with specialty chemicals. Buffett acquired the company in 2011 for $9 billion. A year later, the company did $6.1 billion in revenue.

Lubrizol Website

According to Lubrizol, "it might surprise you that our products... are in things your use every day." In fact, the company's chemicals are used in shampoo, fluid in vehicles, medicine, clothes, shoes, electronics, and plumbing, among many others.

4. Credit Cards


Photo: American Express

study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston suggested 72% of the U.S. population carries at least one credit card. That's not including debit cards and prepaid cards. Therefore, it's pretty darn likely you have a VisaMasterCard, or American Express card in your wallet right now.

American Express is one of Berkshire's top stock holdings, owning about 14% of credit card giant. Berkshire holds a minor -- meaning only hundreds of millions worth of shares -- stake in Visa and MasterCard.

3. Food


What American household doesn't have ketchup? Berkshire holds a 50% equity stake in the ketchup king, Heinz. The company also owns Ore Ida potato, Classico spaghetti sauce, and Smart Ones.

While you're unlikely to find any Meyn or McLane-branded foods in your frig, they both helped it get there. McLane is one of the U.S.'s leading distributors, and Meyn develops poultry processing solutions – more plainly, equipment that kills chickens.

2. And drinks

Polar Bear Source Cola Cola

Forbes ranked Coca-Cola as the third most valuable brand with an estimated $55 billion worth. In fact, the company reported that "Coca-Cola" is the second most understood term in the world, behind "OK." 

Buffett made Berkshire's first investment in Coca-Cola in 1988, and currently owns about 9% of the company. So every time you reach for a Coke, POWERADE, Minute Maid, DASANI, Sprite, Fanta, Honest Tea, or Odwalla, Buffett's wallet is getting a little fatter.

1. Your house


Photo: Clayton Homes

Clayton Homes is America's number-one home builder in output, accounting for nearly 5% of all U.S. single-family homes built in 2013. 

OK, so technically your house isn't inside your house, but bricks can be. Berkshire owns Acme Brick one of the U.S. leaders in manufacturing bricks. Buffett also owns Anderson Hardwood Floor, Shaw Flooring, the insulation manufacturer John Manville, and one of most popular brands of paint, Benjamin Moore.

Buffett and Berkshire own a lot of stuff. The beauty for us as investors is we can join their party -- all we have to do is buy a share of Berkshire Hathaway. 

The greatest thing Warren Buffett ever said
Warren Buffett has made billions through his investing in simple products like the ones above and he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through the years, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Follow along as we countdown the days until Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on May 3. A handful of Fools will be attending the event and live chatting with other Fools around the globe! Click HERE to set a reminder for yourself about the live chat!

The previous article in our "12 Days of Berkshire" series was:
12 Reasons Warren Buffett Is an Incredible Investor and How You Can Learn From Him


Dave Koppenheffer has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of 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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