Warren Buffett Owns These 15 Companies

Author: Selena Maranjian | November 25, 2020

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett at his company's annual shareholder meeting

Source: The Motley Fool

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Meet Berkshire Hathaway

You've probably heard of superinvestor Warren Buffett, but there's a chance that you don't realize that he helms one of America's largest businesses -- Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE: BRK.B).

There are many interesting things about Berkshire Hathaway, and one of them is how rapidly it has grown over the years -- since the 1960s, that is, when Buffett took over. In Buffett's last letter to shareholders, he reported an overall growth from the mid-1960s to 2019 of 2,744,062% -- equal to a compounded annual gain of 20.3%. Compare that with the S&P 500, which averaged a respectable 10% annual growth rate over the same period, for a total of 19,784% growth.

Berkshire has increased in size by buying many growing businesses outright and also investing in the stock of growing businesses. Here's a look at 15 of his holdings. Most will be familiar names to you.

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A green gecko lizard

Source: Getty Images

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1. GEICO

If you watch any TV at all, you've likely seen GEICO's funny commercials, some of which feature a gecko. GEICO has grown into a major insurer from its beginnings as the Government Employees Insurance Company. It was recently covering more than 28 million vehicles through more than 17 million auto insurance policies. Employing more than 40,000 people, it has been one of the fastest-growing major auto insurers in America and is currently the second largest.

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A pair of men's boxer underwear, with hearts printed on it

Source: Getty Images

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2. Fruit of the Loom

Buffett's empire stretches far and wide, from highly sophisticated pilot-training technology to … underwear. Fruit of the Loom, tracing its roots back to 1851 and purchased by Berkshire in 2002, actually makes and sells much more than underwear, offering sleepwear, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and even face masks. Fruit of the Loom is also home to the Vanity Fair, Russell Athletic, and Spalding brands.

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Freight train in motion

Source: Getty Images

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3. BNSF Railway

In 2010, Berkshire Hathaway made its biggest acquisition to date, gobbling up the BNSF Railway Company with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. With 32,500 route miles traversing 28 states and three Canadian provinces, it's one of North America's largest railroad companies. BNSF recently employed around 36,000 people and, reflecting the efficiency of railroads, it can carry a ton of freight about 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel.

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Peanut brittle pieces

Source: Getty Images

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4. See's Candies

Berkshire Hathaway's association with See's Candies goes back to 1972, though the candy company itself has been around since 1921. Today, it's making more than 26 million pounds of candy every year, featuring everything from chocolates to peanut brittle to lollipops and more. (If you watch Berkshire's daylong annual meeting, you'll see Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger nibbling on peanut brittle for many hours, as they answer questions from the audience.)

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Two people in aprons prepping fresh ingredients to cook

Source: Getty Images

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5. Pampered Chef

A 1980 cooking party in someone's home turned into a massive kitchen supply company, powered by a direct sales force of more than 55,000 people selling primarily through in-home "cooking shows." Headquartered in Addison, Illinois, Pampered Chef sports close to 500 offerings, and it boasts 12 million customers.

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We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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Rows of opened paint cans showing paint in vibrant colors

Source: Getty Images

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6. Benjamin Moore

A guy named Benjamin Moore started a paint company in 1883, and today it's a major paint purveyor, purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2001. Its paint lines include Aura, Regal Select, Ultra Spec, ben, ARBORCOAT, and more. In a letter to shareholders, Buffett recounted how the acquisition happened: A friend suggested the company to him, and then: "In late August, Charlie and I met with Richard Roob and Yvan Dupuy, past and present CEOs of Benjamin Moore. We liked them; we liked the business; and we made a $1 billion cash offer on the spot. In October, their board approved the transaction, and we completed it in December." Other acquisitions happened this way, too.

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A man in a hat squinting and eating an ice cream cone

Source: Getty Images

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7. Dairy Queen

Did you know that Berkshire Hathaway owns International Dairy Queen? It acquired the company back in 1998. The first Dairy Queen opened in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940, and the company sold more than 175 million Blizzards in 1985. Dairy Queen was actually a pioneer in its early days, as soft-serve ice cream was not widely available at quick-serve locations back then.

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A semi truck driving down the road

Source: Getty Images

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8. McLane

You've probably seen McLane trucks heading here and there on the highway, but you might not have realized that McLane is a huge company that helps stock grocery stores and food service locations, using its 20,000-plus workers, 80-plus distribution centers, and its many trucks -- one of America's largest private fleets. It recently boasted deliveries to nearly 110,000 locations nationwide. Berkshire Hathaway bought McLane from Walmart in 2003.

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Airplane parked in hangar for repair

Source: Getty Images

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9. Precision Castparts

Buffett has famously spoken out against airlines as investments (though he has also occasionally owned them), and that makes sense, as airlines are typically challenged by headwinds such as fare wars, complex logistics, unpredictable weather, labor negotiations, and even pandemics. That didn't stop Buffett from buying Precision Castparts in 2015 for about $37 billion, though. The company is a major supplier of aircraft and engine components. In 2016, Buffett noted that the company had 30,466 employees, "who work out of 162 plants in 13 countries."

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The inside of a furniture store with various couches and other items displayed

Source: Getty Images

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10. Nebraska Furniture Mart

One of Buffett's most legendary purchases for Berkshire Hathaway was Nebraska Furniture Mart. The company was founded in 1937 by immigrant Rose Blumkin, who gave the company the motto "Sell cheap and tell the truth." The company is one of America's largest furniture retailers, though it only has four stores. (Three sport more than 400,000 in square feet, though!) After Buffett got a majority stake in the company, he noted in his 1983 letter to shareholders that, "Today Nebraska Furniture Mart generates over $100 million of sales annually out of one 200,000 square-foot store. No other home furnishings store in the country comes close to that volume." Shareholders attending Buffett's annual meetings in Omaha are given a special discount at the store.

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We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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American Express credit card

Source: American Express

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11. American Express

Let's move now to some of Berkshire Hathaway's stock holdings. One of the largest positions is in American Express (NYSE: AXP). Per the last 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Berkshire had an 18.8% ownership position in the company -- it owned nearly a fifth of the whole financial enterprise, recently valued near $94 billion. (Thus, Berkshire's stake is worth more than $15 billion.) American Express, founded in 1850 as a freight forwarding operation, predates the Civil War -- and it didn't get into cards until 1958.

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Artist's rendition of an Apple store

Source: Apple

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12. Apple

Buffett is famous for steering clear of anything outside his "circle of competence," and that has long included most "tech" companies such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). But these days he has two talented investing lieutenants working for him, and their circles are drawn differently. Apple is a relatively new holding for Berkshire, but it's quickly become the largest. It owned 5.4% of Apple, per the latest quarterly 13F SEC filing. With Apple recently valued near $2 trillion, that gives Berkshire's stake a value near $108 billion. Indeed, Apple recently made up some 48% of Berkshire's entire stock portfolio, and it delivers more than $700 million in annual dividends -- a sum likely to grow over time, as good dividends do.

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A lobby entrance to a Bank of America

Source: Bank of America

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13. Bank of America

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway also recently held a big position in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), owning 11.7% of the company, per its recent 13F filing with the SEC. With Bank of America's value recently near $237 billion, that has the Berkshire stake worth about $28 billion. On top of that, Berkshire collects close to $700 million in dividends from Bank of America each year -- with that sum growing over time.

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Woman holding a Coca-Cola plate inside a Coke store

Source: Coca-Cola

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14. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) has long been a Berkshire Hathaway holding, and the company held 9.3% of Coca-Cola's stock, per its recent 13F filing with the SEC. With Coke recently worth about $230 billion, Berkshire's stake is valued at more than $19 billion. Buffett began buying Coca-Cola shares in 1988, and since just 1995, Berkshire's Coca-Cola shares have delivered more than $7 billion in dividends alone -- more than $600 million in just 2019.

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Old cement building with lettering that reads BANK in gold

Source: Getty Images

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15. U.S. Bancorp

Berkshire Hathaway also owns 8.8% of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), a well-regarded major banking institution, per its latest 13F filing with the SEC. Given the bank's recent value of $66 billion, Berkshire's stake is worth close to $5 million. That stake generated more than $200 million in dividends in 2019, and shares of U.S. Bancorp can deliver meaningful dividend income to you, too, as they were recently yielding 3.8%, due to the stock having fallen in the tumultuous pandemic year of 2020.

5 Winning Stocks Under $49
We hear it over and over from investors, “I wish I had bought Amazon or Netflix when they were first recommended by the Motley Fool. I’d be sitting on a gold mine!” And it’s true. And while Amazon and Netflix have had a good run, we think these 5 other stocks are screaming buys. And you can buy them now for less than $49 a share! Simply click here to learn how to get your copy of “5 Growth Stocks Under $49” for FREE for a limited time only.

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Warren Buffett

Source: The Motley Fool

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Own a piece of each of these companies

The more you learn about most of Berkshire Hathaway's holdings, the more you might wish you could own them, too. But rejoice -- because you can, if you want. Obviously, you can buy shares of Apple, Bank of America, American Express, U.S. Bancorp, and Coca-Cola on the open market, just as Buffett did. But if you buy shares of Berkshire Hathaway, you will own a stake in all the stocks the company owns and all its subsidiary businesses, too -- and there are many dozens of those. All told, Berkshire employed 391,539 people as of the end of 2019!

Selena Maranjian owns shares of American Express, Apple, and Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and short December 2020 $210 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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