But it wasn't the fact that Buffett would buy Heinz that surprised anyone. Heinz is just the kind of simple, branded powerhouse that Buffett has always been interested in.
What was surprising was the fact that Buffett teamed up with the Brazilian private equity group 3G Capital. This may have been the first time that many investors heard of 3G, but it's unlikely to be the last. During this year's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Buffett was clear about his interest in doing more deals alongside 3G, saying at one point, "We see more opportunity to partner, and we will jump at it."
Thanks to the new book "Dream Big" by Cristiane Correa, investors interested in learning more about 3G can now dig into the successful P/E shop's impressive history.
In the video clip below, Kase Capital managing partner Whitney Tilson shares some details on the book and the background of the 3G team. A transcript of the video follows.
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Tilson: It just came out, so I've only read the first chapter or so, but I've actually been following these guys. It's three Brazilian entrepreneurs -- I'll show you a copy of the book and you can see the picture of these guys. I just got a hard copy of it; it literally just came out this week.
It is one of the most extraordinary business stories of all time, rivaling the rise of Berkshire Hathaway, a Sam Walton kind of story, where these guys started in the banking business in Brazil, it must have been back in the late '60s, early '70s. Then they acquired a little brewer -- a beer company -- and started acquiring other companies, culminating with acquiring Anheuser Busch in the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.
They have, from literally a $50 million tiny little third-tier brewer in Brazil, in 20 years they built the world's largest brewer. Then they took over Burger King (NYSE: BKW ) , and then they've just partnered up with Buffett to buy Heinz in a $23 billion deal, last year.
Their track record is just extraordinary. Buffett thinks they are the best operating managers he has seen in his career, and that's saying something.
I think anyone interested in business and entrepreneurship and success in investing, should study these guys -- and also, if you're a Berkshire shareholder, I think the Heinz deal is the first ... I think Buffett and these three guys are hunting elephants.
It wouldn't surprise me to see them go after Campbell's Soup -- or any kind of consumer company now, I think, is fair game -- with Buffett's deep pockets and these guys' managerial ability. As a Berkshire shareholder, I'm thrilled by this.