Buffett Revs Up Deal Machine With Investors Set for Omaha Trek

Warren Buffett the dealmaker is back.

After hanging in the shadows for most of the pandemic, the billionaire investor and his deputies have been ramping up Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s acquisition machine -- snapping up shares of Occidental Petroleum Corp. and HP Inc. and striking an $11.6 billion deal to buy Alleghany Corp. The flurry of activity comes just as investors are set to flock to Omaha, Nebraska, for the conglomerate’s first in-person shareholder meeting since 2019.

Now on the prowl -- and having yet to weigh in on a plethora of economic and business topics -- Berkshire’s chief executive officer is setting up for a “very, very important meeting,” as he recently teased in an interview with Charlie Rose. Buffett’s relative lack of buying during the pandemic and his subsequent stepped-up efforts at the start of 2022 are spurring questions about his dealmaking outlook for the year ahead.

“I think that he regretted it and recognized that it was a missed opportunity,” Jim Shanahan, an analyst at Edward Jones, said of Buffett’s decision to keep to the sidelines during the pandemic. “Then, when we got this sell-off this year, which was related to geopolitical events primarily in Europe, I think that’s when he saw the opportunity.”