Is billionaire Warren Buffett, the so-called Oracle of Omaha, interested in buying Thor Industries Inc.?
Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has not approached Thor management, according to Thor Chairman Wade F.B. Thompson.
However, the idea of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway buying Thor was raised last week by Tom Cahill, a writer for the Bloomberg news service. Cahill based his speculation upon statements Buffett included in a recent letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders.
In the letter, Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway is “awash in liquid assets” and “both eager and ready” to make acquisitions. Buffett also listed what he would look for in a company that Berkshire Hathaway might buy.
Cahill followed Buffett’s criteria when reviewing 370,000 companies in Bloomberg’s database and found only eight firms, including Thor, passed the test.
“I am pleased that Thor meets the stringent criteria of America’s smartest investor, Warren Buffet,” Thompson said.
However, Cahill added that Thor, which a market capitalization of $300 million, is the smallest of the eight companies satisfying Buffett’s requirements, and that Buffett suggested, in his letter to shareholders, that he will focus primarily on bigger firms.
Among Buffett’s requirements for an acquisition include: consistent earnings; “good” return on equity and little or no debt; “simple businesses” that Buffett says he can understand and “management in place.”
Berkshire Hathaway is a publicly traded company that Buffett controls. He uses it as a vehicle for buying other businesses and he keeps successful managements of acquired firms in place. The Berkshire Hathaway portfolio includes investments in insurance firms, building- and home-decorating companies and stakes in firms such as American Express Co.