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Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company controlled by investor Warren Buffett, won shareholder approval by a narrow margin to buy manufactured housing firm Clayton Homes Inc.
The interest in Clayton shown by Buffett, the so-called Oracle of Omaha, led many observers to believe that the manufactured housing industry’s depression is over and that the sector is due for a cyclical upturn.
Manufactured housing shipments recently hit a 40-year low, according to Ed Caudill, president and CEO of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., a major RV and manufactured home builder and one of Clayton’s competitors.
During Clayton’s special shareholders meeting on Wednesday (July 30), the owners of 52.4% of Clayton’s shares voted to approve the acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Some institutional investors opposed the sale because they believed Berkshire Hathaway’s $12.50 a share, or $1.7 billion, offer was too low.
Berkshire Hathaway already is involved with the RV industry. Its subsidiary, Scott Fetzer Companies, owns Carefree of Colorado, a supplier of awnings and other shade-control products to the RV and leisure marine industries.