Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Buys British Businesses for $1.1 Billion

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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) has acquired the beverage dispensing and merchandising businesses of IMI for $1.1 billion. The U.K.-based engineering firm says it will use the funds to bolster its pension fund and to return £620m to shareholders.

The IMI divisions sold, which sell drink cooling equipment and retailing display systems to restaurants and stores, will become part of Marmon, a company owned by Berkshire Hathaway with existing operations in the food service and retail industries.

The deal is expected to be the final major act of IMI’s long-time chief executive Martin Lamb before he steps down at the end of the year. Lamb said:

I particularly wish to thank all our employees in the Retail Dispense business for their efforts and commitment over many years in which they have made a first class contribution to IMI. I believe that Marmon, with its scale and focus on the retail space, will be an excellent long term owner of the business.

The deal is the latest in a series of bolt-on acquisitions made by the Berkshire Hathaway investment group in the United States and Europe. Buffett has encouraged the chief executives of his operating companies to seek out smaller, less-risky deals rather than large purchases.

Shares in London-traded IMI rose to all-time high Wednesday. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway were inactive in premarket trading in the United States.

24/7 Wall St. also recently took a look Warren Buffett’s Highest-Yielding Dividend Stocks, which include the likes of Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), as well as the 10 Best Warren Buffett Stocks to Buy in the Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio, which includes such giants as General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM).