We are thinking quietly about the Kraft Heinz deal. What is the hidden margin of safety that Buffett is counting on?
When we look back on Berkshire’s acquisition of BNSF, the deal initially looked crazy. Here is Warren’s justification for it and here is what some of the value investors thought about it. Investors believed that Warren had gone loco. The deal turned out to be very good for Berkshire shareholders. Five years since the deal, BNSF has provided $15B dividends back to Berkshire on the purchase price of $26.5B that he paid to own the rest of the company. (Link) Part of that was luck due to oil being transported more on rails compared to five years ago that even Warren could not have anticipated. Nevertheless, when Warren has capital of tens of billions of dollars that needs to get allocated, he is still finding deals with the required margin of safety and returns proving that he is a continuous and an innovative learner. If one were to value the railroad at where the competitors are trading it, it looks like BNSF will be worth about $66B.
One has to sit back and think about what are the margins of safety is Warren counting on the Kraft-Heinz deal? One, of course is 3G’s focus on cost. But is there something beyond it? What does it mean for the Shareholders? It will be the second biggest security in the Berkshire’s portfolio soon.