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Buffett bets big on power with $9b Oncor deal

Buffett bets big on power with $9b Oncor deal

KHATMANDU: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Friday it agreed to pay $9 billion to buy the parent of Texas power transmission company Oncor Electric Delivery Co, stepping up its pursuit of steady profits from utilities and infrastructure deals.

If the all-cash purchase wins approval from federal and state regulators and a bankruptcy judge, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit will assume control of one of the largest US electricity transmission companies.

“Buffett views infrastructure bets as a good long-term investment,” said Steven Check, president of Check Capital Management Inc in Costa Mesa, California, which invests $300 million of the $1.4 billion it oversees in Berkshire.

“With the relatively limited opportunities available to a company of Berkshire’s size, investments such as Oncor that are likely to yield 8 to 10 percent annually are acceptable,” Check added.

The acquisition also highlights the growing prominence of Greg Abel, 55, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s chief executive.Investors consider him a top candidate to succeed Buffett, 86, at the Omaha, Nebraska-based parent company’s helm.

Abel and other Berkshire Hathaway Energy executives were not available on Friday for interviews. Buffett’s office did not respond to separate interview requests.