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After 40 Years, Warren Buffett Is Selling This Long-Time Investment

By Jay Jenkins - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:00PM

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Warren Buffett is said to be selling his shares in Graham Holdings, former owner of the "Washington Post." Plus, understanding corporate health care and the value of a diploma!

Enjoy these three reads to satisfy your Foolish curiosities in investing, business, and life!

40 years and 12.3% annual returns later, Buffett says "Sell!!"

Last year, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos made headlines, and sent shock waves through the publishing world, when he purchased The Washington Post. Bezos did not buy the other units owned by Graham Holdings (GHC -0.69%), the current entity that formerly owned The Post, including the company's cash cow, education company Kaplan.

Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A -2.24%) (BRK.B -2.30%), the largest shareholders of Graham Holdings, have now decided to divest from the new company. Reported by Fortune, Buffett is negotiating a deal to trade his shares of Graham for shares of Berkshire owned by Graham.

Apparently, The Oracle of Omaha sees greater upside for Berkshire's future than Graham's without The Post:

According to a late Wednesday filing on the SEC's website, Berkshire and Graham Holdings are negotiating a stock swap that would involve Berkshire handing its 1.7 million shares of Graham Holdings back to the company. In return, Buffett's company would get the Berkshire shares that Graham Holdings owns, currently held in part through the Graham Holdings pension plan.

But that wouldn't be the end of the deal. Berkshire holds considerably more Graham Holdings shares then Graham owns of Berkshire. According to the filing, Berkshire may end up acquiring a division of Graham Holdings to make up the difference. 

And to boot, the deal is structured to be tax free!

How large corporations provide employee health care without actually buying any insurance

This week, AOL (NYSE: AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong made headlines after blaming rising health-care costs for the company's decision to reduce and withhold retirement matches on employee 401k contributions. Armstrong, amid a flurry of criticism, quickly changed course and apologized. 

Perhaps more interesting, though, is this dive by Stephen Gandel into the little known logistical and financial world that large companies use to provide these health-care benefits. Like so many other things in the corporate world, it turns out that employee health-care benefits are a numbers puzzle that swings between costs, risk, and benefits.

What that means is that AOL didn't actually purchase any insurance to cover the health costs of 95% of its employees.

As odd as that sounds, AOL has plenty of company. These days, health insurance consultants regularly tell companies with over 500 employees not to buy health insurance. It's a waste of money. Instead, collect the payments that your employees would have paid an insurer. Then hire a big health insurance company to handle the paperwork. Voila, it looks like you are providing your employees health insurance, but you haven't purchased any coverage.

In terms of wages, a college diploma is the new high school diploma
Are you or someone you know thinking about skipping college after finishing up high school courses this spring? That could be a very bad idea according to new data reported by The New York Times.

According to the report, the wage benefits of a college degree are at an all-time high while, at the same time, the value in terms of wages for a high school diploma are rapidly decreasing.

The Pew report found that the wage premium for having a college degree was at a record high. The median annual wage for young college-educated workers now is $45,500, compared to $28,000 for high school graduates -- a gap of $17,500. In 1965, the gap was much smaller: $7,400. (All the figures are in 2012 dollars.)

Click through to the story above to see a chart that dramatically captures the trend.

Jay Jenkins has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and 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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Stocks Mentioned

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
BRK.A
$447,154.99 (-2.24%) $-10,245.02
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
BRK.B
$297.28 (-2.30%) $-6.99
Graham Holdings Company Stock Quote
Graham Holdings Company
GHC
$591.85 (-0.69%) $-4.08

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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