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Warren Buffett reveals what's holding him back from putting Berkshire's $90 billion in cash to work

  • "I hate cash," says the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO. "But it's a holding position until you find something else."
  • Buffett says he thought Berkshire was doing OK with $90 billion cash until he saw Apple's war chest.

Warren Buffett told CNBC that Berkshire Hathaway has $90 billion in cash, and he's looking to "buy a big business."

The billionaire investor has been talking for a while now about wanting to make a large-scale acquisition but said he does not have anything on his radar now.

"I hate cash," Buffett said in an interview that aired Friday on "Squawk Box," one day before Berkshire's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

"I mean we are investing," he said. "But [cash] is a holding position until you find something else. But the very fact that interest rates are that low makes it hard for us to buy other things because other people buy things with borrowed money, and borrowed money is so cheap."

He added: "If we are competing with equity money against slim equity plus a lot of debt, we're at a disadvantage."

Buffett said he thought Berkshire was doing well with $90 billion cash until he saw this week that Apple's cash pile swelled to $256.8 billion in its fiscal second-quarter.

"I'm very jealous," he laughed. "I thought I was doing OK until I looked at their balance sheet."

"On the other hand," he said. "We've got ours here in the United States." Apple keeps most of its cash outside the U.S. for tax purposes.