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Truck stops are about as American as apple pie…and Buffett’s taking a big slice. Berkshire Hathaway acquired a 38.6% stake ($ amount wasn’t disclosed) in Pilot Flying J., the largest operator of travel centers in North America. Buffett plans to up his interest to 80% by 2023.

And he’s partnering with Midwestern royalty to do so: the founding Haslam family. Jimmy Haslam is Pilot’s CEO, and also the owner of the Cleveland Browns. Jimmy’s lil’ bro? Bill, the Governor of Tennessee. 

You’re probably familiar with Pilot’s rest stops from the 40 oz soda and party-sized bag of Doritos you picked up on the way to Yosemite. It operates 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, doing a healthy $20 billion+ in revenue. That makes it the 15th largest private company in the country.

With the investment, Buffett is going all-in on commercial goods transportation. He already owns BNSF Railway, one of the largest freight railroads in the U.S. with more than 32,000 miles of track across the fruited plain.

Sing along with Buffett: “America, America…”

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Buffett All But Names Heirs to the Berkshire Throne

It was only a matter of time: Warren Buffett is putting his succession plan in place, naming Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain as vice chairs of the Berkshire Hathaway (+1.26%) board. It can only mean that: 

  1. One of them is likely to replace Buffett as CEO of the company.
  2. Apparently our application got lost in the mail.

But unlike us, Abel and Jain have earned Buffett’s trust through decades of leading major divisions at Berkshire. Abel runs the energy business (joining in 1992), and Jain (with Berkshire since 1986) heads all reinsurance operations. 

Buffett, 87, will keep his position as chairman and CEO—for now—but he’s clearly thinking about the end game. 

Actually, he has been for a while now. From his annual letter in 2014: 

“Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO—a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down. In certain important respects, this person will do a better job than I am doing.”

And as long as Jain doesn’t kill Abel in a fit of jealousy, we now know who that person might be.

http://morningbrew.cmail20.com/t/j-l-okuydht-yhyuhjkhdk-g/

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Favorite Buffett-isms from previous letters. 

  • “Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons.” — 2016.
  • “At Berkshire, we much prefer owning a non-controlling but substantial portion of a wonderful company to owning 100% of a so-so business. It’s better to have a partial interest in the Hope Diamond than to own all of a rhinestone.“ — 2015.
  • “Cash, though, is to a business as oxygen is to an individual: never thought about when it is present, the only thing in mind when it is absent.” — 2014
  • “Games are won by players who focus on the playing field (long term)—not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard (short term).” — 2013.

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I also found this interesting:

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s stock performance in the past decade belies a “perpetuated myth” that billionaire investor Warren Buffett is beating the market as he did before, according to Drew Dickson, chief investment officer and managing partner at Albert Bridge Capital LLP in London. Dickson compared Berkshire and the S&P 500 Index on a total-return basis -- including dividends, which the company hasnÂ’t paid for half a century -- in a blog posting Tuesday. While Class A shares of BuffettÂ’s company rose 126 percent from the start of March 2008 through Monday, the S&P 500 returned 159 percent.
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@James Thomas Rook Jr.  Thank you for pointing that out. The last decade has been a weird time of governments printing money and artificially pumping the stock markets..... of course he wouldn't buy in 100% in that market. He is smarter than that.

Funny how statistics can be manipulated to create almost any headline.

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