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10 abril 2007

Berkshire's 10% Stake in Burlington Northern Catches Most Buffett Buffs Off Guard

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has disclosed a greater than 10% stake in Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI - News). Berkshire's most recent reported purchase was made on Thursday, April 5th, and consisted of 1,219,000 shares purchased at $81.18 each.

The size of the Burlington Northern investment will make it one of about a half dozen very large positions held by Berkshire. This investment dwarfs each of Berkshire's investments made during the past few years – it is already considerably larger than any other single investment recently disclosed by Berkshire including the investment in Posco (NYSE: PKX - News), US Bancorp (NYSE: USB - News), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP - News), Anheuser Busch (NYSE: BUD - News), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ - News), USG (NYSE: USG - News), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT - News), and Tesco (Other OTC: TSCDF.PK - News).

This is the biggest single common stock investment made by Berkshire in a long time.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe operates one of the largest rail systems in North America. The system includes 32,000 route miles of track of which 23,000 are owned route miles.

In recent years, Burlington Northern Santa Fe has been buying back stock. The company expects share repurchases will remain the primary use of its free cash flow. In fact, Burlington Northern may allow "a moderately higher level of debt" so the company can "devote additional financial capacity to share repurchases".