Berkshire Hathaway, an American multinational conglomerate holding company owned by Warren Buffett, acquired slightly more than five percent of the outstanding shares in five of the leading Japanese trading companies. Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo were acquired over a period of approximately twelve months through regular purchases on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Berkshire Hathaway, the largest company in the U.S. as measured by shareholders’ equity, has a long history of substantial, passive holdings in successful businesses. The company’s intention is to hold its Japanese investments for the long term. Depending on price, Berkshire Hathaway may increase its holdings up to a maximum of 9.9% in any of the five investments. However, Warren E. Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has pledged that the company will make purchases only up to ownership of 9.9% in any of the five investments. The company will make no purchases beyond that point unless given specific approval by the investee’s board of directors.
“I am delighted to have Berkshire Hathaway participate in the future of Japan and the five companies we have chosen for investment. The five major trading companies have many joint ventures throughout the world and are likely to have more of these partnerships. I hope that in the future there may be opportunities for mutual benefit,” Buffett said.
The five Japanese companies already have fingers in aquaculture. Marubeni recently acquired 66.7% shares of Danish Salmon. Cermaq became a subsidiary of Mitsubishi in 2014 and also partnered with Unibio for single-cell protein production. In 2019, Itochu partnered with Pure Salmon for salmon distribution. Mitsui owns shares of Chilean salmon producer Multiexport and partnered with FRD Japan for a RAS trout farm.