Top 10 Companies in the World 2017

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6. Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway is an American MNC conglomerate holding company, which was originally named the Valley Falls Company.


Image: company website

The organization was started in 1839 by Oliver Chance, and the company is currently headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska and is headed by the illustrious Warren Buffet. The company we know today as Berkshire Hathaway was formed by a series of mergers and acquisitions, the earliest among which was the merger of Valley Falls with Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company.

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The firm thus created was named Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates. In 1955, the company merged with Hathaway Manufacturing Company, to form Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Following World War 1, the textile industry suffered a hit, and Berkshire Hathaway was also among the companies in trouble. Warren Buffet came to the firm’s rescue, and bought shares of the company. After a series of events, Warren Buffet ended up as the majority shareholder of the company, and thus gained control over the firm. In spite of the tough market scenario, efforts were made to maintain the core competence of the company in the textile industry, however, the company soon diversified into other verticals very soon, beginning with the investment and insurance fields.

In 1977, the organization acquired Buffalo Evening News, its first media firm, and by 1985 it completely shut down its operations in the textile industry. The following years saw the company grow in stature, following a series of corporate mergers. In 1996, the company acquired GEICO and FlighSafety International; while in 1998 it acquired General Re. 2007 saw the firm acquire the Nederlandse Reassurantie Groep to form the Berkshire Hathaway Assurance and enter the health, casualty and life insurance markets.

Of late, the firm has further diversified into a wide range of verticals, with the acquisitions of ACME Building Brands and Ben Bridge Jewelers in 2000, and the Business Wire in 2006. Currently, the firm has entered the markets of over 13 unique product categories, and employs more than 331,000 employees.

Sales ($Bn): 222.9

Profits ($Bn): 24.1




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