THE LEX COLUMN: Warren Buffett could be ready for hypertension
Berkshire Hathaway has $122bn in cash burning a hole in its pocket
An octogenarian’s accelerated heartbeat should normally cause concern. Warren Buffett, 88, lamented in early 2019 that Berkshire Hathaway could not make blockbuster deals due to high equity valuations. That has not prevented him from fantasising about an elephantine takeover that might make his pulse race. His dream could become real. On Saturday, Berkshire reported a staggering cash balance of $122bn.
Some shareholders have expressed mild disappointment about Buffett’s reticence to jump back into big-time deal-making. Berkshire’s last big gulp was Precision Castparts in 2016. But, as if on cue, the S&P 500 fell 2% on Monday over trade and geopolitical concerns and is down 5% since late July. The Federal Reserve is already loosening monetary policy and the decade-long economic expansion may soon cease. If so, Buffett’s chance for one last big game hunt may come sooner than many expected.