- Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is in talks to partner with Mitsui, CEO Tatsuo Yasunaga told Nikkei Asian Review.
- “We have been in discussions to identify where we can collaborate on new business and where there are mutual benefits in using our global network,” Yatsunaga said.
- Berkshire revealed 5% stakes in Mitsui and four other Japanese trading companies at the end of August, and Yatsunaga immediately wrote to Buffett about joining forces.
- Yatsunaga intends to expand Mitsui’s joint venture with Berkshire-backed Davita into Japan, he said.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is exploring partnerships with Mitsui, the Japanese trading group’s boss told Nikkei Asian Review in a recent interview.
“We have been in discussions to identify where we can collaborate on new business and where there are mutual benefits in using our global network,” Mitsui CEO Tatsuo Yasunaga told the newspaper.
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Yasunaga began talks with Berkshire by letter in early September, days after Buffett’s company revealed 5% stakes in Mitsui and four other Japanese trading companies. The positions were worth about $6.5 billion in total at the close of Tokyo trading on Tuesday.
Buffett, in the press release announcing the holdings, highlighted the quintet’s myriad joint ventures and expressed his hope for “opportunities of mutual benefit.”
Mitsui already has a joint venture with Davita, a kidney-dialysis specialist that counts Berkshire as its biggest shareholder, with a roughly 30% stake. Mitsui plans to expand their partnership from Singapore, Malaysia, and China to Japan, Yasunaga told Nikkei Asian Review.
Yasunaga also signaled he’s eager to work with Berkshire’s insurance subsidiaries, which include Geico and Gen Re as well as National Indemnity, that bought the Japanese shares.
“I would like to make new businesses with insurance and pharmaceutical companies by using our data,” he said.
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Berkshire and Mitsui’s shared interest in collaborating isn’t surprising, as they’re both sprawling conglomerates with significant overlap in their operations.
Buffett’s company owns scores of businesses across the retail, manufacturing, construction, transportation, insurance, and consumer goods industries.
Meanwhile, Mitsui’s core businesses include mining, energy, machinery, and chemicals, and its growth areas span mobility, healthcare, nutrition, and retail.