NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wall Street and Main Street commentators were abuzz this week with news and opinions revolving around the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.
Part of the question, "Who will be the next head of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)?" was answered this week when Buffett flagged 39-year-old Todd Combs as the individual who will take control of the legendary firm's investment portfolio when Buffett departs from the captain's chair.
Prior to this appointment, Combs had a modest following. As manager of Castle Point, a Connecticut-based hedge fund, he was in charge of managing $400 million in assets. In his new role at Berkshire, however, he will eventually be responsible for handling approximately $100 billion. Read more about Comb's appointment by clicking here.
While news of Buffett's successor stole the show this week, it was not the only story revolving around the investor. The Buffett-backed Chinese car company, BYD, and Berkshire Hathaway's newest venture into reinsurance were also in the news. Is BYD Running On Empty?One of Buffett's more famous investments in recent years has been his venture into the electric car industry with BYD. The Oracle is typically known for his interest in companies which he considers to be boring. This has led him to acquire notable positions in companies such as Coca-Cola (KO), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Republic Services (RSG). >>View Warren Buffett's Portfolio However, on the advice of those close to him including his partner, Charlie Munger, he took a bet on BYD, purchasing 10% of the company for nearly $250 million. Initially, with Buffett's blessing, shares of the former battery-maker took off, becoming one of the most popular car companies in China and a wildly sought after name around the world. Buffett saw his investment grow substantially, and the chairman of BYD, Wang Chuanfu, saw his wealth increase to levels which earned him a place among China's richest individuals. More recently, however, BYD has run into trouble. The company's share price has seen a turn lower in response to slashed sales targets and reports that the Chinese government has taken action against the firm, ordering BYD to hand over seven of its facilities which were deemed to be built illegally. This week, BYD was further punished when it released its quarterly earnings report that was disappointing. The company's year-over-year profit in the third-quarter tumbled a staggering 99%. Although Buffett is known for his long term focus, he can't be too thrilled to hear about the poor performance coming from this holding. Are BYD's days as a Buffett-backed company numbered? It will be interesting to see.
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