Tags: Investment | legend | Warren | Buffett | Berkshire Hathaway | bought | Burlington Northern Santa Fe

Buffett: West Lured Me to Buy Railroad

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 24 Dec 2009 09:30 AM

Investment legend Warren Buffett says his Berkshire Hathaway firm bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe because of its heavy operations in the West.

“I think the West is going to do well,” Buffett told Burlington Northern workers in an in-house interview. “I’d rather be in the West than the East.”

Berkshire is paying $26 billion for the railroad, the largest acquisition in its history.

When the purchase was announced, Buffett called it an “all-in wager on the economic future of the U.S economy.”

Burlington’s western network will allow it to reap the rewards of rising imports from Asia, particularly China.

“I think I know how the country is going to develop,” Buffett said.

Berkshire is taking on $8 billion in debt to finance the acquisition.

Buffett says he won’t sell railroad assets to pay back debt and that Berkshire will continue to put money into Burlington Northern’s infrastructure.

“It’d be crazy if we didn’t,” Buffett said. “We’re not going to buy a business and starve it.”

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Buffett said that what enabled him to do the Burlington Northern deal was the fact that he didn’t do anything stupid during the financial crisis.

He passed up deals that would have eaten up Berkshire’s capital, making the Burlington Northern purchase very difficult.

"We didn't do all the smartest things,” Buffet told The Journal. But, “We didn't do anything really dumb."

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Investment legend Warren Buffett says his Berkshire Hathaway firm bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe because of its heavy operations in the West. I think the West is going to do well, Buffett told Burlington Northern workers in an in-house interview. I d rather be in...
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