As of the latest available information, Warren Buffett-led conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) has 61 fully owned subsidiary companies listed on its website. Some are smaller companies, while others are well-known, but only to people in a certain industry. For example, most people in the aircraft manufacturing industry know all about Precision Castparts, but I wouldn't exactly call it a household name.
However, there are several famous brands that are fully owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Here's a rundown of 10 of the most famous Berkshire Hathaway brands, some of which you may use yourself.
This is arguably the best-known brand that Berkshire Hathaway owns, and is also one of the most critical to the company's success. Berkshire's core business is insurance, and Geico covers more than 22 million motor vehicles. Geico's market share has steadily climbed over the past couple of decades, rising from 2.5% in 1995 to 12% today.
2. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices of America
This is Berkshire Hathaway's real estate brokerage subsidiary, and is actually a collection of 35 different real estate companies across the U.S. The company operates in 25 states and employs over 22,000 sales associates.
3. Dairy Queen
Next year, in 2018, Dairy Queen will have been a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary for 20 years. Dairy Queen has grown tremendously over the years, and now has more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S., Canada, and 18 other countries around the world.
I was hesitant to include Brooks on this list, simply because the running shoe manufacturer isn't well-known by people who aren't runners. Unlike other athletic-wear companies, Brooks is rather specialized, only producing running gear, and has been in operation for more than 100 years.
5. BNSF Railway
One of the largest freight rail networks in the U.S., BNSF is second in size only to Union Pacific Railroad, and primarily operates in the Western United States. The company has 44,000 employees and over 8,000 locomotives which operate on about 32,500 miles of track.
6. Clayton Homes
Clayton is the largest builder of manufactured and modular homes in the United States, and was acquired by Berkshire in 2003. In fact, manufactured homes account for 70% of American homes costing less than $150,000, and Clayton manufactures nearly one-half of those. In 2016, Clayton delivered more than 42,000 homes, accounting for 5% of all homes sold in the United States.
Berkshire acquired Duracell from Procter & Gamble in 2014, in exchange for shares Berkshire already owned on P&G. I'd rank Duracell among the top two or three most famous brands on this list, as the brand generates more than $2 billion in annual revenue. That's a lot of batteries.
8. Fruit of the Loom
Founded in 1851, Fruit of the Loom is certainly one of the oldest brands in America -- older than cars, lightbulbs, and telephones -- and was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2002. Today, the company employs more than 32,000 people, and is one of the most well-known underwear manufacturers in the world.
9. Pampered Chef
Pampered Chef is a multilevel marketing company selling kitchen tools, food products, and cookbooks. Acquired by Berkshire in 2002, the company has about 35,000 salespeople, and is the largest direct seller of kitchen tools and products.
10. Oriental Trading Company
Oriental Trading Company was founded in 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska (Berkshire's home base), and is most well-known for its mail order catalogs filled with party supplies, arts and crafts supplies, and miscellaneous toys and novelties. As e-commerce has developed, so has Oriental Trading, which is now ranked among the top internet retailers in the U.S.