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Financial Services

Berkshire Scores Deals for Hartford Unit, MindWare

Warren Buffett


Two Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) units, Columbia Insurance and Oriental Trading, agreed to small acquisitions Thursday.

Columbia, one of Berkshire’s many insurance arms, announced a $285 million deal to buy a life-insurance subsidiary from Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG).

The sale of the Dublin-based subsidiary, Hartford Life International, comes at a time when Hartford is shedding non-core businesses amid shareholder pressure. Hartford will take a $110 million loss in the second quarter.

Shares of Hartford Financial jumped 2.43% to $30.72 Thursday morning.

In a deal without a disclosed price, Berkshire’s Oriental Trading bought “brainy” toy maker MindWare Holdings.

Oriental Trading sells part supplies, toys and even Warren Buffett rubber duckies. The acquisition of Minneapolis-based MindWare is aimed at expand the company’s footprint in educational toys.

Buffett told investors earlier this year that he was disappointed 2012 concluded without a major acquisition. However, he noted that his more than 70 Berkshire units were active in seeking acquisitions.

Class B shares of Berkshire were up 17 cents at $113.08.

Follow Matthew Rocco on Twitter @MatthewRocco