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By Jeremy Glaser and Greggory Warren, CFA | 04-24-2015 11:00 AM

Berkshire's 'Elephant Gun' Still Loaded

The diverse deals completed over the last year show Berkshire still has an appetite to put its cash hoard to work, says Morningstar's Gregg Warren.

Note: This video is part of Morningstar's coverage of the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.

Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. We're getting ready for the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting. Warren Buffett is, of course, always looking for acquisitions, and he found quite a few this year. I'm here with Gregg Warren--he is a senior equity analyst and also our Berkshire analyst--to look at some of the deals that he has done so far and what he could be looking to do in the future.

Gregg, thanks for joining me.

Gregg Warren: Thanks for having me.

Glaser: So, can you give us a quick rundown on some of the big deals that Buffett made at the Berkshire level this year?

Warren: If you go back to last year's annual meeting, they announced the AltaLink deal, which is a Canadian electrical-transmission firm; they paid about $3 billion for that. And that really lifted the amount of spending on the energy-utilities segment, because they bought NV Energy back in 2013 for about $6 billion and we had kind of expected to see more energy-related deals as the year rolled on.

Greg Abel has been pretty active over the last decade between buying up some distressed assets in solar, putting a lot of [capital expenditure] to work in wind energy, but also picking up other assets here and there. So, we were looking for things along those lines. We're a little bit surprised, though, because Berkshire threw us a few curveballs as the year progressed.

They bought an auto dealership in October of last year; they followed that up with a big stock swap of P&G (PG) stock for Duracell. Then, as they came into this year, they announced the acquisition of a German motorcycle apparel and [accessories] retailer, which was, again, a bit of curveball. And then they followed that up more recently with the announcement that they were merging the Heinz holdings that they had bought with 3G Capital with Kraft (KRFT).

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