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
?" was answered this week when Buffett flagged 39-year-old
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
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
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.
Buffett Expands Reinsurance Portfolio
Although Buffett has picked out a successor, he is not ready to step down just yet. Rather, as he explained upon turning 80 at the end of August, he plans to work until he is 100. This week he continued to eye possible deals, picking up
With that deal, Buffett is further expanding his reach into the reinsurance industry which includes a notable stake in German-based Munich Re.
Despite the big news regarding his successor, Buffett appears to be going about the days in a business as usual fashion. Do you feel that, in the near term we are in store for dramatic changes to the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below.
Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
Readers Also Like:
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was not any equities mentioned.
Don Dion is president and founder of
, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.
Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.