Skip to content
SuperMoney logo
SuperMoney logo

Baby Berkshire: Definition, Characteristics, and Investment Considerations

Last updated 03/19/2024 by

Abi Bus

Edited by

Fact checked by

Baby Berkshire, affectionately dubbed after a significant 50:1 stock split in 2010, encompasses more than just Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares. This comprehensive guide explores the nuances between Class A and Class B shares, the implications of the stock split, and how the term extends to companies with similar business models. Dive into the world of Baby Berkshire and unravel its significance in the realm of finance.

Compare Investment Advisors

Compare the services, fees, and features of the leading investment advisors. Find the best firm for your portfolio.
Compare Investment Advisors

What is baby berkshire?

Baby Berkshire is a colloquial term used to describe Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares, which acquired this moniker following a notable 50:1 stock split on Jan. 21, 2010. This split played a pivotal role in facilitating Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

Differences between class A and class B shares

Berkshire Hathaway offers two classes of shares: Class A (BRK-A) and Class B (BRK-B). The primary distinction lies in their share prices. As of April 22, 2022, Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares traded at an astonishing $505,440 per share, while Class B shares were more accessible, trading at approximately $335.56 each.

Understanding baby berkshire

Initially introduced in 1996, Berkshire Hathaway issued 517,500 shares of Class B stock, enabling investors to acquire shares at a fraction of the price of Class A shares. The subsequent 50-to-1 stock split in 2010 further democratized access, with the ratio increasing to 1,500-to-1. Although Class B shares initially carried reduced voting rights compared to Class A shares, the stock split helped mitigate this discrepancy, adjusting the voting ratio to 10,000 to 1.
Before the stock split, Berkshire Class B shares lacked the necessary trading volume to qualify for inclusion in the S&P 500 index. However, the split significantly boosted trading volume, leading to their inclusion in the S&P 500 on Feb. 12, 2010.

Companies with baby berkshire business models

The term “baby Berkshire” extends beyond Berkshire Hathaway itself and encompasses companies that mirror its diversified business model. Compass Diversified Holdings, Leucadia National (now Jefferies Financial Group), Alleghany Corporation, and Markel are among the entities often referred to as “baby Berkshires.” These companies operate as portfolios of diversified businesses, akin to Berkshire Hathaway’s structure, garnering them the endearing title in financial circles.
Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.
  • Lower share price compared to Class A shares
  • Increased accessibility for individual investors
  • Exposure to Berkshire Hathaway’s diversified portfolio
  • Potential for long-term growth and dividends
  • Limited voting rights compared to Class A shares
  • Fluctuations in Berkshire Hathaway’s stock performance may impact share value

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of investing in baby Berkshire Class B shares?

Investing in Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares offers several advantages, including lower share prices compared to Class A shares, making them more accessible to individual investors. Additionally, Class B shares provide exposure to Berkshire Hathaway’s diverse portfolio of companies, offering potential for long-term growth and dividends.

Are there any drawbacks to investing in baby Berkshire Class B shares?

While investing in Class B shares presents opportunities, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks. Class B shares may have limited voting rights compared to Class A shares, which could impact shareholder influence in company decisions. Additionally, fluctuations in Berkshire Hathaway’s stock performance can affect the value of Class B shares, potentially leading to investment losses.

How do I decide between investing in Berkshire Hathaway Class A or Class B shares?

The decision between investing in Class A or Class B shares depends on various factors, including your investment goals, risk tolerance, and available capital. Class A shares may appeal to institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals due to their higher share price and voting rights. In contrast, Class B shares may be more suitable for individual investors seeking Berkshire Hathaway exposure at a lower cost per share.

Can I convert Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to Class A shares?

Yes, investors can convert Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to Class A shares through a simple process facilitated by Berkshire Hathaway’s transfer agent. However, it’s essential to consider any potential tax implications before initiating the conversion.

What is the historical performance of Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares?

Historically, Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares have demonstrated strong performance, mirroring the success of the company’s underlying businesses. While past performance is not indicative of future results, Berkshire Hathaway’s track record of long-term value creation may make Class B shares an attractive investment opportunity for discerning investors.

Key takeaways

  • Baby Berkshire refers to Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares following a significant stock split in 2010.
  • The primary difference between Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A and Class B shares is the share price.
  • The term “baby Berkshire” also encompasses companies with business models akin to Berkshire Hathaway’s.
  • Investing in baby Berkshire Class B shares offers accessibility and exposure to Berkshire Hathaway’s diverse portfolio, but may come with limited voting rights.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

Loading results ...

You might also like