OMAHA, NB –
The American multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, made a surprising discovery this week when one of its accountants realized the company had accidentally purchased the entire state of New Hampshire during a large trade last Tuesday.
The transaction, involving several thousand shares of company stock valued at over 15 billion dollars, came to light when an employee in charge of SEC compliance was reviewing a ledger and saw that the state had been part of an equities-for-land swap.
Residents Unaware They Had Been Purchased
Rhode Island, which joined the union in 1790 and is home to over one million residents, became part of the Berkshire Hathaway fold without much fanfare.
Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee acknowledged the new ownership, saying that although the state would have liked some advanced notice before the purchase, not much would likely change for its citizens.
“While some residents might find it disconcerting to be the property of a billionaire businessman who lives 1,600 miles away, the Berkshire Hathaway group has a proven track record of success, and employs a “hands off” approach that we feel will provide a nice compliment to our can-do attitude at the state government level.”
State Severely Under-Valued
While the famously profitable holding company founded by investor Warren Buffet does not routinely purchase states in entirety, a spokesman said the company was pleased with the acquisition, as Rhode Island was worth several times what the company paid for it when valued on a “direct cash flow” basis.
A press release touted the new investment:
“BH is more than thrilled to acquire this rising star in the United States which has a price-per-share earnings that is equivalent to states of a much larger size. While there will be some headwinds in the coming years to overcome given the needed infrastructure investment, we expect Rhode Island to outperform same-in-class states on a per capita basis for both the near and long term, and are forecasting a 13% return on investment for our shareholders.
The state will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the abbreviation RDI.