graphic
News > Companies
Buffett takes Block stake
February 16, 2001: 8:22 p.m. ET

Warren Buffett buys 8.3% stake in H&R Block, becomes No. 2 shareholder
graphic
graphic graphic
graphic
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Famed investor Warren Buffett has bought an 8.43 percent stake in H&R Block Inc., making him the second-largest shareholder of the tax preparation giant.

Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in Omaha, Neb., disclosed the ownership in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.

His 7,697,500 shares are second only to the 8,056,448 owned by the Fidelity family of mutual funds.

Buffett's holding is three times larger than that of Block co-founder and retired Chairman Henry Bloch, who has a 2.76 percent stake.

The routinely secretive Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A: Research, Estimates) recently lost a battle to avoid making some of the disclosures that regulators require.

graphicLinda McDougall, a Block spokeswoman, declined to discuss Buffett's filing other than to say, "We certainly welcome Mr. Buffett as a shareholder." Alexander Paris Jr., who follows Block for Barrington Research Associates Inc. in Chicago, speculated whether Buffett's investment would lead to a buyout of Block.

"We've seen Warren Buffett take positions and ultimately acquire companies" in the past, Paris said.

Paris said Berkshire Hathaway acquired a large block of International Dairy Queen Inc. before acquiring the fast-food restaurant company.

"H&R Block is definitely right up Warren Buffett's alley in terms of being a well-run, consumer-based (company) dominant in what they do," Paris said.

But another analyst, Michael Millman with Salomon Smith Barney in New York, said that if Buffett had bigger plans, he might have kept his holdings below 5 percent -- the threshold for disclosure under SEC rules.

"Maybe he wouldn't have shown his position," Millman said.

Block is trying to become a full-service, year-round financial company, having acquired brokerage, mortgage lending and accounting companies. Block has about 9,000 offices nationwide, though many are open only during tax season.

Buffett recently dumped 3.9 million shares in Walt Disney Corp. (DIS: Research, Estimates)

Shares of H&R Block (HRB: Research, Estimates) were up 87 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $45.20 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

-- from staff and wire reports graphic





graphic


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.