Much to the dismay of the legendary investor, Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday reported the amount of cash on its books swelled to a record $122 billion over the last quarter. That might sound like a good thing, but Buffett has previously said having all this cash was "far beyond" the level he prefers. In his most recent letter to shareholders, Buffett said he was on the hunt for an "elephant-sized acquisition" but that things were currently too expensive for his liking.
"In the years ahead, we hope to move much of our excess liquidity into businesses that Berkshire will permanently own," Buffett wrote. "The immediate prospects for that, however, are not good: Prices are sky-high for businesses possessing decent long-term prospects."
Buffett is a value investor, meaning he likes to invest in companies with strong balance sheets which he believes are trading below their market value, and that he can hold for the long-run.
While no one but Buffett, his right-hand man Charlie Munger and their closest confidants really know what is on Berkshire's shopping list, Wells Fargo earlier this year took a look at the companies it believes could be targeted. In a note sent out to clients, the bank examined several valuation measures and came up with a list of 12 companies it thinks Berkshire could buy:
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Capri Holdings
- CNX Midstream Partners
- Cognizant Technology Solutions
- EQM Midstream Partners
- Micron Technology
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
- Urban Outfitters
Berkshire owns a number of blue-chip stocks in a portfolio that is valued at more than $170 billion.
At the end of last quarter, Berkshires's stake in Apple was worth more than $50 billion. The conglomerate recently upped its stake in Bank of America to 950 million shares, or about $28 billion. Other companies in which Berkshire has a sizable investment include American Express, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Goldman Sachs.
Berkshire on Saturday reported its operating profit fell 11 percent in the second quarter to $6.14 billion as its insurance underwriting business suffered a steep decline.