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Buffett’s Berkshire Takes Stakes in Japanese Trading Companies

(Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. took stakes in five Japanese trading companies, expanding its reach abroad.

Buffett’s company announced Sunday night that it acquired “slightly more” than 5% of the shares of Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp., according to a statement. The purchases, made through one of its insurers, National Indemnity, are valued at more than $6 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The move marks a big push abroad by Buffett’s firm, which has long accumulated stakes in U.S. companies including Apple Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. Berkshire has also sought investments abroad with holdings in China’s BYD Co. through its energy business and Brazilian payment company StoneCo Ltd.

“I am delighted to have Berkshire Hathaway participate in the future of Japan and the five companies we have chosen for investment,” Buffett said in the statement. “The five major trading companies have many joint ventures throughout the world and are likely to have more of these partnerships. I hope that in the future there may be opportunities of mutual benefit.”

Shares of the trading companies surged after the announcement, with Sumitomo climbing as much as 8.9% on Monday morning in Tokyo.

Berkshire plans to hold the Japan investments for the long term and has pledged to only hold as much as 9.9% of the shares in any of the five companies, unless given specific approval by the investee firm’s board of directors, according to the statement.

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