Greenberg: Break Up Berkshire Hathaway?

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- One of the great veteran forensic analysts, Ted O'Glove, is out with a piece on The Motley Fool suggesting that it's time to start thinking about breaking up Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B).

For those of you who don't know O'Glove, a quick backgrounder: He's best known as the author of Quality of Earnings, long considered a must-have in the library for for serious investors. He wrote it in 1987. Earlier he was best known for co-authoring the Quality of Earnings Report with Bob Olstein, who now runs Olstein Funds.

At 80, a few years younger than Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett, O'Glove can spot a fad, and a good investment, a mile away. He can read the footnotes better than anybody

He's a huge fan of Berkshire and Buffett, which is why his piece is so interesting.

From the piece:

At this time, Buffett is one of the world's most successful corporate executives ever. Between 1964 and 2013, Berkshire's book value has grown an incredible 693,518%. At the same time, the S&P 500, with dividends included, returned 9,841%. With outperformance like that, no wonder Buffett's shareholders revere him.

According to the October 27, 2003 edition of Barron's, there were four individual billionaire shareholders and many more shareholders whose Berkshire stock was worth over a million dollars. Since the publication of that article, the price of those shares has more than doubled.

Berkshire doesn't pay a common-stock dividend, and every year at the annual meeting, there is a contingent of investors who ask whether it's finally time for that to change. Buffett's reply has remained constant: "Absolutely not." His stance is that the book value of the company today is considerably higher than it would have been if Berkshire had been paying dividends.

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