Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1889. It is a diversified investment company that invests in everything from jewelry and boats, to cowboy boots and ice cream. Many investors purchase the shares simply for bragging rights, or for the opportunity to attend the annual shareholder meeting, which is more like a carnival and party. Since the Class B shares split in January 2010, the much more affordable stock price has attracted many more investors.
Berkshire Hathaway is a publicly owned investment management company. Chairman and CEO Warren Buffet is known, hailed and recognized around the world as a premier, successful and notable investor. The company is based in Omaha, Nebraska. As of August 2010, the company had a market cap of roughly $190 billion. Two classes of stock are available and publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange: class A and class B.
Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares trade on the NYSE under the symbol BRK.B. The shares represent 1/50th the amount of A shares. To buy shares, an investor must have an account with a broker, a discount brokerage firm or with an online brokerage firm. An order can be placed by phoning a broker or by entering the trade online. The purchase order will include the symbol BRK.B, the number of shares, the limit price or market order and the time in force. Always confirm the order before placing the trade
The B shares are more liquid and have a greater trading volume than the much more expensive A shares. Neither class of shares pay a dividend. Orders must be placed while the market is open (9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) for same day execution. If the account holder is a new customer, funds in the account may be required before the trade can be executed. Stock trades settle in three days from the trade date (T+3), and for established accounts and/or new customers, that is when funds are due. The lower share price makes the B shares more attractive to smaller investors, but cheaper doesn't always mean the stock is a bargain. Fundamentals and revenues from its holdings are what matter most.