Berkshire Scores Deals for Hartford Unit, MindWare

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

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