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Buffett: On the hunt for more acquisitions

by FP Staff  Mar 2, 2013 04:00 IST

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REUTERS - Warren Buffett has reloaded his elephant gun.

The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) chief executive, who famously said in 2011 he was using an elephant gun to hunt for acquisitions, on Friday said he is back on the prowl for more to expand the conglomerate.

Just last month, Berkshire struck a deal to put $12 billion toward the $23 billion cash buyout of ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co (HNZ.N), but Buffett said he and vice chairman Charlie Munger were not done.

"But we still have plenty of cash and are generating more at a good clip. So it's back to work; Charlie and I have again donned our safari outfits and resumed our search for elephants," Buffett said in his annual letter to shareholders.

Berkshire reported $47 billion of cash on hand at December 31.

Buffett also offered a lengthy treatise on the upside - and downside - of companies paying dividends to shareholders, by way of explaining why Berkshire would continue its policy of not paying one out.

Buffett devoted three full pages from the 24-page later to explaining his philosophy.

"I have made plenty of mistakes in acquisitions and will make more. Overall, however, our record is satisfactory, which means that our shareholders are far wealthier today than they would be if the funds we used for acquisitions had instead been devoted to share repurchases or dividends," he wrote.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Bernard Orr)