As one of the most respected holding companies in the world, Berkshire Hathaway has an excellent track record of making shareholders happy. This business entity has been in operation since 1839, but its prestige started in 1964 when CEO Warren Buffett accumulated enough shares in the company to become majority shareholder and eventually take control. It only took Buffett three years to start diversifying Berkshire Hathaway, a company that used to only hold textile industry investments; he started off by securing equity stakes in insurance companies such as GEICO. These days, the company holds major investments in several sectors, including: news media, real estate, financial services, retail, construction, and others.
Berkshire Hathaway has the distinction of offering the most expensive stock on Wall Street. There are two types of BRK shares that investors can purchase: Class A, which trades as BRK.A, and Class B, which trades as BRK.B. Both shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange; they are essentially the same in terms of functionality since they both represent equity in the company, but there a significant difference in pricing and voting rights. BRK.A shareholders hold the most expensive stock in the world, which is 1,500 times the value of BRK.B, and they also get 10,000 corporate votes per share. BRK.B shares are more affordable and represent one corporate vote.
To get an idea of the price difference between BRK.A and BRK.B, take a look at how they stood on Wall Street in early March 2018:
BRK.A – $303,100
BRK.B – $201.34
Another advantage of BRK.A shares is that they can be converted into BRK.B shares at any time; plus, there is a certain prestige among those who hold BRK.A in the sense that they hold significant equity and voting rights in a company chaired by Warren Buffett, one of the most esteemed value investors in the world.
Acquiring Berkshire Hathaway stock is simple; since BRK.A and BRK.B are publicly traded and listed on the NYSE, they can be purchased from just about any retail stock brokerage account. In the case of full-service firms such as Merrill Lynch, account holders can instruct their broker to purchase BRK.A or BRK.B. Account holders who do business with discount brokers such as E*TRADE can simply search for the stock symbol and enter a buy order.
It should be noted that Berkshire Hathaway is a blue chip value stock, which means that it will appeal to buy-and-hold traders; it is not recommended for day traders despite its high volume.