Doug Nidiffer, chairman of the board for C&K Market Inc., holds a ribbon outside the newly remodeled Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts on Chetco Avenue Saturday as Brookings City Council Ron Hedenskog and City Manager Gary Milliman, right, look on. C&K Market purchased the store last year. Submitted photo
In his 50 years at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Warren Buffett has transformed a failing textile company into a sprawling conglomerate that has vastly outperformed most of the rest of corporate America. In the 84-year-old's annual shareholder letter released on Saturday, Buffett said Berkshire has grown so large - 751,000 times its original net worth per share - that the future pace of gains "will not come close" to those of the past. "The numbers have become too big," Buffett wrote. Within 10 to 20 years, Buffett said, Berkshire's girth could require whoever then runs the Omaha, Nebraska-based company to consider steps he has resisted, such as paying dividends or conducting "massive" share repurchases.
Herbalife Ltd (HLF.N) cut the pay of Chief Executive Michael Johnson 36 percent for 2014 after the nutrition and weight loss company failed to meet performance goals set for him and other top executives, according to a securities filing on Friday. Herbalife said Johnson, who is also chairman, received total compensation of $6.73 million last year, down from $10.5 million in 2013, mainly because he did not receive the incentive plan compensation of $3.7 million he got the prior year. Herbalife has been closely watched since activist investor William Ackman accused the company of running a pyramid scheme in 2012, while rival investor Carl Icahn became the company's biggest owner in 2013. Herbalife, being investigated by state and federal regulators, has denied Ackman's charges.
Warren Buffett wants to buy more businesses to add to Berkshire Hathaway Inc's "sprawl," but cautioned it may not keep the company he has run for 50 years from evolving into something rarely used to describe it up until now: average. In his annual letter to shareholders, Buffett on Saturday said Berkshire's huge balance sheet gives him the power to funnel capital to some of the more than 80 operating units that deserve it, while its decentralized structure makes it the "home of choice" for many businesses looking to sell. "Berkshire is now a sprawling conglomerate, constantly trying to sprawl further," Buffett wrote. Berkshire's book value per share, Buffett's favored growth measure, has after taxes risen less than the Standard & Poor's 500 index including dividends, pre-tax, in five of the last six calendar years, after dwarfing the index in the prior 44 years.