OMAHA, Neb. (
are now the biggest shareholders in Munich Re, eclipsing the previously biggest stake in the reinsurance company held by money manager
Last month, Berkshire Hathaway revealed that it had built a 3% stake in Munich Re.
Buffett isn't done yet, either, in building up his stake in Munich Re. A regulatory filing indicates that Berkshire Hathaway has options on another 2% of Munich Re that can be exercised by March 11, taking Berkshire's holding in the reinsurer to 7%.
Munich Re management said they do not view the big recent moves from Buffett into their stock as a hostile maneuver.
Buffett already owns 3% of Swiss Re, and Berkshire Hathaway has a long-time strategy of using the
spread between the cost of insurance premiums and the return on equity from reinvestment of premium income to generate profits for Berkshire investors.
Berkshire also announced in January that it had acquired for, $1.3 billion, a block of reinsurance premiums from Swiss Re in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion.
While Munich Re does not view the move as hostile -- and street analysts have concurred with this view -- Berkshire also began its investment in
with a an 11% stake in April 2007, and is in now in the final stages of acquiring the railroad operator.
Longtime Berkshire investors have also been wondering whether the
Burlington deal with be the last major M&A move of Buffett's career, or if the Oracle of Omaha has another big surprise in store for shareholders in the coming years.
-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
Follow TheStreet.com on
and become a fan on
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.