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Warren Buffett: 2011 in Review

Stocks in this article: BRK.A BRK.B

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 2011 was a busy year for billionaire investor, Warren Buffett. Below are a few of the most closely-followed Buffett-related topics that have been in focus over the past 12 months.

Acquisitions

At the start of the year, in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shareholders, Warren Buffett took time to focus on the company's future acquisition prospects. Likening his firm's massive cash pile to a loaded elephant gun, the investor spent the past year on the prowl, searching for attractive opportunities around the globe. Overall, Buffett's safari appeared successful. Some of his recent trophies, however, have come as a big surprise.

Although it was refreshing for investors anxious to see some Berkshire cash come off the sidelines, Buffett's first big ticket purchase of the year was not overly surprising. Valued at $9 billion, chemical maker, Lubrizol makes for a strong compliment to the current Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. The firm is responsible for products used extensively across a number of sectors the investor has traditionally showed interest in.

Following the Lubrizol purchase, it was also announced that Berkshire Hathaway would buy up the remaining shares of Wesco Financial. Prior to this deal, Wesco and Berkshire had already enjoyed strong ties; the California-based firm is chaired by Buffett's second-in-command, Charlie Munger.

During the latter half of the year, however, Buffett's buying habits got more interesting. Marking a dramatic shift from his previous investing habits, Buffett followers learned that the famous technophobe had purchased a more-than $10 billion stake in International Business Machines (IBM). IBM was just one of the companies the investor took interest in during his staggering third quarter buying frenzy, however. Analysts note that during the three month period ending Sept. 30, the renowned investor put nearly $24 billion to work. This was his largest quarterly cash expenditure in 15 years.

With his most recent decisions to purchase the Omaha World-Herald newspaper, and increase his exposure to solar energy, it is clear that Buffett is not ready to hang up his firearm just yet.

>>View Warren Buffett's Portfolio

Surprises

A handful of other, more unconventional business decisions helped keep Warren Buffett in the spotlight throughout the year.



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