Berkshire Hathaway buying rest of Israel's IMC for $2.05 billion

Wed May 1, 2013 9:24am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote) on Wednesday said it would acquire the 20 percent of IMC International Metalworking Cos BV it does not already own from the company's founding Wertheimer family for $2.05 billion cash.

Berkshire first acquired 80 percent of the company commonly known as Iscar in 2006 for $4 billion. It was at the time one of the largest deals ever involving an Israeli company, and Buffett's biggest bet outside of the United States.

The price paid Wednesday implies the value of the company, which makes metalworking tools, has more than doubled since then.

"As you can surmise from the price we're paying for the remaining interest, IMC has enjoyed very significant growth over the last seven years, and we are delighted to acquire the portion of the company that was retained by the Wertheimer family," Buffett said in a statement.

In his last annual shareholder letter, Buffett described Iscar as one of Berkshire's five most-profitable companies outside of its insurance business.

The 2006 deal with Berkshire made the Wertheimer family among the richest in Israel. German-born Stef Wertheimer has established a number of industrial parks in Israel aimed at promoting peace by having Jews and Arabs work together.

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz in Boston and Steven Scheer in Jerusalem; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Grant McCool)

 
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart