Super investor Warren Buffett, recently named to The Algemeiner’s Jewish 1oo list for his strong support of Israeli innovation, completed his acquisition of Israeli company Iscar Wednesday. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., antied up the $2 billion it needed to acquire a full stake after investing $4 billion for 80% of the company in 2006.
“I spoke with Eitan (Wertheimer, Chairman of Iscar) in January in Washington, and we decided that this was the time for us and the family to make the deal. I am very pleased,” Buffett said, when asked why he waited seven years to acquire full ownership of the company.
In an interview with Israel Hayom after the transaction, Buffett heaped praise on Israel.
“Israel is a great place to invest because of its people. There is no other place in the world where you find people with these qualities, as well as with the motivation and the ability to focus that you see at Iscar,” he told the Israeli newspaper.
With Buffett being the investor that he is, there was the inevitable financial advice query, to which Buffett responded: “I haven’t been to Israel recently so its hard for me to give advice, but I form my impressions from Iscar, and the company makes me believe that Israel has a bright future. Iscar will never stop, even if there is a slowdown in world markets. Iscar never stops innovating with new products and never stops satisfying its customers. With the excellent management at Iscar, I just sit in the back seat and let the car drive itself. I don’t have to do anything but rely on the management.”
Buffett, one of the richest men alive, does, however, have advice for Israel as a whole. “Israel should continue to do what it’s doing. You are a nation of entrepreneurs with amazing abilities. Israel must continue to provide them with the best and most comfortable work climate. That is the government’s responsibility: to create a comfortable climate for entrepreneurs.”