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Berkshire hathaway is a large, diversified company in a very large number of high margin businesses. Its "core business", as much as it has one, seems to be variants of insurance (especially "re-insurance", insuring other insurance companies against truly catastropic events like hurricane andrew. Requires very deep pockets, but has less risk (and thus a higher reward/risk ratio) than most other kinds of insurance.)

It also has several other wholly owned businesses, stretching as far back as Sees Candy and as recent as Dairy Queen. These are all healthy, profitable businesses directly contributing to berkshire's bottom line.

In addition, Berkshire owns large chunks of several publicly traded enterprises, including significant portions of such Cash-Kings as Coke, Gillette, and American Express.

Warren Buffett's investing style, while well beyond the simplicity of Cash-King investing (investing is his day job at which he has decades of experience, with us it's a very part-time hobby most of us are new at), is based on many of the same principles. Long-term positions in profitable, successful businesses, with strong brand names and long track records providing regular (predictable) income, often from repeat purchase consumer items.

Warren Buffett has often said that if the stock market closed for days, years, or even a decade, he wouldn't be particularly worried. He believes his investments will increase in value of their own accord, he only trades when he believes he can improve upon them. Therefore, if he were to die, unless whoever took over berkshire made radical changes to the investment portfolio, it should continue to increase rapidly in value for many years afterwards. It might not do so as rapidly as if he were still at the helm, but it would eventually become an investment similar to GE: very large, very diversified, very profitable.

Just my opinion.

- Oak
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