Warren Buffett's Berkshire Buys 5% Stake Each In Japan's 5 Largest 'Sogo Shosha'

Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) late Sunday announced it has purchased passive stakes in five of the largest Japanese trading companies.

What Happened: The trading companies, referred to as “Sogo Shosha” in Japan, include Itochu Corporation ITOCY, Marubeni Corporation MARUY, Mitsubishi Corporation MSBHY, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. MITSY, and Sumitomo Corp. SSUMF.

Berkshire said it has acquired a 5% stake in each of the five companies. The Omaha-based company pledged that, while it intended to hold these investments long term, it wouldn’t have ownership above 9.99% in any of the Sogo Shosha at any point in the future.

“The five major trading companies have many joint ventures throughout the world and are likely to have more of these partnerships,” Buffett said in a statement.

“I hope that in the future there may be opportunities of mutual benefit.”

Why It Matters: According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the investments, made through subsidiary National Indemnity, are worth above $6 billion.

This also marks a rare push away from the United States companies for Buffett, who famously said that “never bet against America,” as earlier noted by analyst Quoth the Raven.

Buffett turned 90 years old on Sunday, and counts Apple Inc. AAPL and Bank of America Corp. BAC as some of his biggest holdings.

Price Action: Berkshire Class A shares closed 0.5% higher at $327,431 on Friday, and Class B shares closed 0.77% higher at $218.55.

Photo courtesy: freeimage4life via Flickr

Posted In: JapanMichael BloombergSogo ShoshaWarren BuffettM&ANewsGlobal