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  • These days, Warren Buffett likes to say he’s on the hunt for elephant-sized acquisitions.

  • But the Oracle of Omaha has had trouble finding multibillion-dollar deals that move the needle

  • for his investment company Berkshire Hathaway.

  • And that is a problem when you have a big cash pile sitting on your balance sheet.

  • Shareholders may worship Buffett and his co-partner, Charlie Munger, but at some point they will

  • demand some of that money back either via share buybacks or dividends.

  • Buffett has argued that his long-term track record of outperformance against the S&P 500

  • speaks for itself. Investors should be patient, he says.

  • The good news for Buffett is that one opportunity has already fallen into his lap this year.

  • Berkshire pledged $10bn to buy preference shares in Occidental Petroleum.

  • The Texas oil group needed financing to back its $55bn takeover of rival Anadarko Petroleum.

  • That would help it win a bidding war for Anadarko against larger rival Chevron.

  • It was the first big Berkshire deal in a while,

  • But even at $10bn, it’s not as big as Buffett would like.

  • The last truly big Berkshire takeover came in 2016, when Buffett’s group spent $37bn

  • to purchase industrial goods company Precision Castparts.

  • It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Berkshire in big deals.

  • It backed a 2013 takeover of US condiments group Heinz and later combined it with Kraft

  • Foods to create a major US foods group in 2015.

  • Two years later, Kraft Heinz tried to take over Anglo-Dutch group Unilever for $143bn.

  • But it had to back out after its approach was publicly rebuffed.

  • Warren Buffett, after all, doesn’t like to be associated with hostile deals.

  • Since the Unilever bid, Kraft Heinz has struggled.

  • Recently it had to make a $15bn writedown and even Buffett had to admit that he overpaid

  • when combining Kraft with Heinz.

  • So where will Buffett look next? Brexit Britain, where many companies could face an uncertain

  • future, may be one place where Berkshire sees value.

  • In an interview with the FT, Buffett said he is ready to buy something in the UK tomorrow.

These days, Warren Buffett likes to say he’s on the hunt for elephant-sized acquisitions.

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