OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company has sold two short-line railroads it recently discovered it owned to satisfy regulators who might have reviewed Berkshire Hathaway’s 2010 acquisition of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.
Berkshire told the Transportation Department’s Surface Transportation Board earlier this month that it had completed the sale of both short-line railroads ahead of schedule.
If Berkshire had reported owning those railroads when it bought BNSF, the Surface Transportation Board would have had to scrutinize the deal. Berkshire first disclosed owning the railroads to the Surface Transportation Board in September.
Buffett did not immediately respond to a message about the short-line railroads on Wednesday, but officials at Berkshire’s BNSF and MidAmerican subsidiaries confirmed that the railroad sales were completed.
Before Berkshire acquired BNSF, Buffett sold the company’s 9.6 million shares of Union Pacific Corp. and 1.9 million shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. to avoid problems with regulators.
A spokesman for the Surface Transportation Board did not immediately respond to a message on Wednesday. But officials at that agency appeared satisfied in October with Berkshire’s plan to sell the small railroads by the end of the year.
Berkshire sold the 12-mile-long WCTU railroad that serves an industrial park near Medford, Ore., to RVTR Rail Holdings in December.
The WCTU railroad was owned by Railserve Inc., which is part of the industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings. Berkshire has owned a controlling interest in Marmon since 2008.
The six-mile-long CBEC railroad that serves a MidAmerican Energy coal plant south of Council Bluffs, Iowa, was sold to its two other co-owners in November.
The Central Iowa Power Cooperative now owns 94 percent of the CBEC railroad, and the Corn Belt Power Cooperative owns the other 6 percent.
None of the entities that bought Berkshire’s short lines owns another railroad, which ensured that the sales didn’t require Surface Transportation Board approval. The Surface Transportation Board reviews rail mergers, purchases, construction and rate disputes. It also oversees Amtrak’s on-time performance.
Roger Nober, a BNSF attorney, suggested to regulators in a September letter that the short-line railroads had been overlooked within Berkshire because of their small size.
Berkshire is an extremely decentralized conglomerate with more than 80 subsidiaries, including insurance, clothing, manufacturing, furniture, jewelry and utility businesses.
Buffett and other top Berkshire officials don’t have much input in day-to-day operations of subsidiaries, and officials at the companies Berkshire owns don’t necessarily interact with each other a great deal.
Besides the companies Berkshire owns, it also has major investments in companies like Coca-Cola Co., IBM and Wells Fargo & Co.
Follow Josh Funk online at www.twitter.com/funkwrite
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: www.berkshirehathaway.com
More Related Stories
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- 2 more arrested in London attacks
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- 80-year-old becomes oldest to climb Mount Everest
- Before FBI shooting man implicated self, Tsarnaev in triple murder
- Paul McCartney backs Pussy Riot
- UK emergency committee convenes after attack
- Brave scout leader tried to reason with London attackers
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11