By Tiffany Hsu
8:09 AM PDT, November 2, 2012
Billionaire financier Warren Buffett already has his hands in newspapers, jewelry, insurance and other holdings. Now, with the acquisition of Oriental Trading Co., the 82-year-old can add party planning.
Buffett said Friday that his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. firm will buy Omaha-based Oriental Trading, the largest direct retailer of more than 40,000 discount party goods, for an undisclosed sum. Berkshire Hathaway is also headquartered in Omaha.
The mail-order merchant, which sells supplies, crafts, school supplies, toys and novelties, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, burdened with a huge debt load, and suffering from low consumer spending and higher costs.
Oriental Trading emerged from restructuring last year, bought by majority shareholder KKR & Co. and others. Earlier, the company was owned by Los Angeles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates before being sold to the Carlyle Group in 2006.
The deal with Berkshire Hathaway is expected to close by the end of the month.
Earlier this year, Buffett bought most of the publications in Media General Inc.’s stable, months after picking up his hometown newspaper the Omaha World-Herald in November. Other Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary companies include International Dairy Queen Inc., GEICO Auto Insurance, Helzberg Diamonds and See’s Candies.
Earlier this year, Forbes put Buffett second on its list of wealthiest Americans, his $46 billion net worth placing him behind Bill Gates and his $66 billion.
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