The legendary investor Warren Buffett tried to buy a $3 billion stake in Uber earlier this year through his company, Berkshire Hathaway, Bloomberg News’ Eric Newcomer and Olivia Zaleski reported Wednesday.
However, the deal fell apart because of disagreements over the size and terms of the potential investment, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the discussions. Neither Uber nor Berkshire Hathaway responded to the news outlet’s request for comment.
Transportation has been a popular sector for Buffett as he decides what to do with Berkshire’s estimated $160 billion cash pile that is ripe for acquiring new companies. In October, the firm bought a 39% stake in the Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain. It also owns a major stake in BYD, a Chinese electric-car maker.
News of the attempted investment comes as Uber is trying to reinvent itself. Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as Uber’s chief executive in November after the departure of the embattled founder Travis Kalanick, has been featured on advertising slots across the country apologizing for the company’s past missteps.
Bloomberg reported that Khosrowshahi stepped in and asked that a deal with Berkshire be cut to $2 billion.
A Berkshire investment in Uber would have looked similar to Buffett’s $5 billion deal with Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg said. In the depths of the financial crisis, Buffett loaned a lump sum to the bank in exchange for preferred stock, which ended up netting him a cool $1.6 billion profit.
That deal was brokered by Buffett’s favorite banker, Byron Trott, who now runs a family office in Chicago known by his initials, BDT; it also helped finance Buffett’s Pilot Flying J investment.
source: businessinsider.com by Graham Rapier