Berkshire Hathaway has announced an agreement to acquire Business Wire, a privately held company that is a leading global distributor of corporate news, multimedia and regulatory filings. Terms of the transaction were, however, not disclosed.
Business Wire will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Business Wire’s management team will remain in place and the company’s day-to-day operations will not be affected by the ownership change.
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO, said that Business Wire closely mirrored the profile of companies in Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio. “In making this acquisition of Business Wire, we have followed our blueprint of buying profitable companies that are industry leaders, yet have significant growth potential,” said Buffett.
“Berkshire Hathaway is a perfect fit for Business Wire,” said Lorry I Lokey, who founded the company in 1961, and is the company’s Chairman. “Berkshire Hathaway is committed to providing a supportive environment that will enable Business Wire to continue to expand in overseas markets and to capitalize on emerging opportunities. We are very fortunate to become a part of one of the world’s most admired companies.”
Lokey will remain with Business Wire as Chairman, but will dedicate himself to his philanthropic pursuits. Lokey has made charitable donations in excess of $160 million to educational and medical research-related projects worldwide in the past decade.
Business Wire, which has expanded in Europe and Asia in recent years, is poised to take advantage of impending shifts in corporate transparency and disclosure requirements. It has set up numerous regulatory disclosure networks in Europe in preparation for the European Union’s Transparency Obligations Directive, which will take effect in January 2007. The TOD mandates harmonized, pan-European disclosure standards for publicly traded companies in all 25 member states.