Warren Buffett denies tensions with Kraft Heinz partner despite company troubles: report

By Warren BuffettFOXBusiness

Warren Buffett: We paid too much for Kraft Heinz

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett tells FOX Business' Liz Claman that he paid too much for Kraft Heinz.

Warren Buffett has denied any tensions with Brazilian equity firm 3G Capital, despite troubles with Kraft Heinz.

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The Berkshire Hathaway CEO told CNBC he is a "good friend" of 3G Capital co-founder Jorge Paulo Lemann.

Buffett also reportedly told the outlet that Lemann attended Berkshire’s meeting in May and that he plans on seeing Lemann in July at a conference and in August for Lemann’s 80th birthday.

According to the outlet, rumors of tensions between the two companies could stem from difficulties with Kraft Heinz.

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In 2015, Berkshire teamed up with 3G Capital to combine Kraft Foods with H.J. Heinz. Berkshire had previously purchased Heinz in 2013 and now Buffett’s company owns 27 percent of the merged company.

Kraft Heinz’s stock has lost more than half of its value in the last year, and in May, Buffett said Berkshire overpaid for the merger.

“We paid too much for Kraft,” he told FOX Business’ Liz Claman during an interview ahead of Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, last month.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
KHCKRAFT HEINZ COMPANY30.44+0.12+0.40%

That’s because shares of Kraft Heinz plummeted after the food and beverage retailer disclosed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had launched an investigation into the firm’s accounting policies. It also slashed its quarterly dividend to 40 cents per share annually.

Losses from Kraft Heinz battered Berkshire’s fourth-quarter earnings at the end of February, during which the conglomerate posted a rare $3.02 billion write-down that Buffett said was “almost entirely attributable” to its significant stake in Kraft Heinz.

However, Kraft Heinz shares opened higher earlier this month after the company disclosed that it completed an internal investigation into its procurement operations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission probe remains ongoing, but the Chicago-based company’s own investigation spurred new policies to “strengthen internal control over financial reporting,” Kraft said in a statement on June 7.

At the time, the firm expected to report first-quarter earnings, which were twice delayed by the internal review, by the end of July.

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Despite troubles with Kraft Heinz, Buffett told CNBC he supports Kraft Heinz’s incoming CEO, Miguel Patricio, a longtime executive at Anheuser-Busch InBev, who will replace outgoing CEO Bernardo Hees in July.

Buffett told the outlet he and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Greg Abel are “high” on Patricio, who was named by Kraft Heinz as its new CEO in April.

Fox Business’ Henry Fernandez, Joe Williams, Megan Henney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.