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CNBC Transcript: Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Today

When: Today, Thursday, February 14th

Where: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman & CEO, today on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (M-F, 6-9am ET). Following is a link to the video of the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000148043

BECKY QUICK: THE OTHER BIG DEAL OF THE MORNING THAT WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IS BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY AND 3G BUYING HEINZ. THIS IS A 28 BILLION DOLLAR DEAL WHEN YOU INCLUDE THE DEBT. AND BY THE WAY, JUST HEARING FROM RICHARD PETERSON OVER AT SP CAPITAL, HE SAYS THAT THE HEINZ DEAL ACTUALLY PUSHES YEAR-TO-DATE U.S. MERGER AND ACQUISITION VOLUME TO OVER 182 BILLION DOLLARS, ANDREW. AND THAT COMPARES WITH ABOUT 58 BILLION DOLLARS THIS TIME LAST YEAR SO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT QUITE A BIT MORE DEAL FLOATS COMING THROUGH. JOINING US RIGHT NOW ON THE SQUAWK NEWSLINE IS WARREN BUFFETT, OF COURSE THE CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY. WARREN, THANK YOU FOR CALLING IN THIS MORNING.

WARREN BUFFETT: GLAD TO BE HERE.

QUICK: SO THIS NEWS CAUGHT ALL OF US BY SURPRISE. 28 BILLION DOLLARS. WE KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS OUT WITH YOUR BIG GUN HUNTING FOR ELEPHANTS, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SEARCHING FOR THIS ONE?

BUFFETT: WELL, JORGE PAULO LEMANN, WHO RUNS 3G, TALKED TO ME ABOUT IN EARLY DECEMBER, WE WERE ON A PLANE TOGETHER, SO I FOLLOWED – I HAVE A FILE ON HEINZ THAT GOES BACK TO 1980 – BUT, HE IS THE ONE THAT GOT ME GOING ON THIS IN EARLY DECEMBER.

QUICK: AND WHAT IS IT THAT WAS PROPOSED? THIS IS A LITTLE BIT OF A COMPLICATED DEAL.

BUFFETT: YEAH, WELL WE ARE PARTNERS WITH 3G AND WE WILL BOTH OWN THE SAME AMOUNT OF THE EQUITY. WE WILL OWN A PREFERRED STOCK IN ADDITION. BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S MY KIND OF DEAL AND IT'S MY KIND OF PARTNER.

QUICK: WHAT'S THE PREFERRED STOCK THAT BERKSHIRE GETS ON TOP OF THE 50 PERCENT OF THE EQUITY STAKE?

BUFFETT: WELL WE ARE PUTTING UP MORE OF THE MONEY, BUT WE ARE GOING TO BE AN EQUAL EQUITY PARTNER WITH 3G AND THERE WILL BE A BILLION OF PREFERRED STOCK AND THEN WE WILL EACH FOUR AND A FRACTION BILLION OF COMMON EQUITY. SO WE WILL SPLIT THE EQUITY, BUT WE ARE A FINANCING A PARTNER IN ADDITION AND THEY ARE THE OPERATIONAL GUYS.

QUICK: YOU ARE PAYING A 20 PERCENT PREMIUM TO THE CLOSING STOCK PRICE AS OF YESTERDAY FOR HEINZ. YOU ARE SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR KIND OF LOOKING THROUGH DEALS AND BEING VERY CAREFUL AND CAUTIOUS ABOUT WHAT YOU PAY. WHY ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY A 20 PERCENT PREMIUM? WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THIS COMPANY?

BUFFETT: WELL, I'M NEVER WILLING. THEY DRAG ME TO THE ALTER ALWAYS, BUT IT IS OUR KIND OF COMPANY. ITS GOT A GROUP OF FANTASTIC BRANDS LED BY KETCHUP AND YOU KNOW, THE COMPANY STARTED IN 1869 WITH HORSERADISH, BUT THEY QUICKLY SHIFTED INTO KETCHUP. SO THE KETCHUP BRAND HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 135 YEARS OR SO. AND I'VE SAMPLED IT MANY MANY TIMES.

QUICK: WARREN, NOW THAT THIS IS TAKING OVER, I MEAN IS THIS GOING TO BE A COMPANY THAT 3G DOES THE OPERATIONS OR IS THIS GETTING WRAPPED INTO THE BERKSHIRE FOLD?

BUFFETT: NO, NO 3G THEY ARE OUR PARTNER, BUT IT'S THEIR BABY FROM AN OPERATIONAL STANDPOINT. WE'RE THEIR PARTNER, BUT THEY HAVE DONE A TERRIFIC JOB AS YOU KNOW WITH ANHEUSER-BUSCH AND BURGER KING AND I HAVE KNOWN JORGE PAULO LEMANN, WHO EVER SINCE WE WERE ON THE GILLETTE BOARD TOGETHER SO FOR A DOZEN YEARS I HAVE ADMIRED HIM AS A BUSINESSMAN ENORMOUSLY AND AS A HUMAN BEING. SO, IT IS A GREAT PARTNERSHIP FOR US. AND ANY PARTNERSHIP WHERE I DON'T HAVE TO DO THE WORK IS MY KIND OF PARTNERSHIP.

QUICK: HOW MUCH CASH IS BERKSHIRE PUTTING IN?

BUFFETT: IT WILL BE SOMETHING BETWEEN 12 AND 13 BILLION.

QUICK: WHICH IS A PRETTY BIG DEAL FOR YOU, BUT YOU STILL HAVE A LOT OF CASH ON THE BALANCE SHEET I GUESS?

BUFFETT: YEAH, I'M READY FOR ANOTHER ELEPHANT IF YOU PLEASE. IF YOU SEE ANY WALKING BY, JUST CALL ME.

QUICK: SO HOW MUCH CASH DO YOU HAVE ON HAND AFTER THIS DEAL?

BUFFETT: WELL, AT YEAR END WE HAD ABOUT 47 BILLION OF CASH EVERY PLACE. BUT WE ALWAYS LIKE TO KEEP AND WE WILL KEEP AROUND 20 BILLION. SO YOU MIGHT SAY THE EXCESS CASH AT YEAR END WAS ABOUT 27 BILLION.

QUICK: OK. SO 12 OR 13 OUT OF THAT –

JOE KERNEN: DO ANOTHER ONE.

QUICK: YEAH, YOU CAN STILL DO ANOTHER ONE TOMORROW IF YOU WANTED TO.

BUFFETT: YEAH AND OF COURSE, THE CASH BUILDS FROM MONTH TO MONTH SO YOU KNOW THE GUN IS ALWAYS GETTING RELOADED.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: HEY WARREN, HOW MUCH ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT DO YOU THINK THERE IS AT HEINZ? AND THE REASON I SAY THAT IN PART IS BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE OVER THE PAST COUPLE YEARS EGGED ON BY NELSON PELTZ, WHO CAME AND GOT INVOLVED WITH THE COMPANY AND STUCK WITH IT AND GOT THOSE TWO BOARD SEATS AND PUSHED BILL JOHNSON TO REALLY MAKE THE COMPANY MUCH MORE EFFICIENT. YOU KNOW, WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT 3G CAN DO THAT HASN'T BEEN DONE BEFORE?

BUFFETT: WELL, I THINK BILL JOHNSON HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB OF RUNNING THE COMPANY WHETHER I DON'T NECESSARILY AGREE IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS PUSHED BY NELSON, BUT BILL JOHNSON TOOK OVER, WHAT? A DOZEN YEARS OR SO AGO. AND HE HAS DONE A VERY GOOD JOB. HE IS A VERY GOOD CUSTODIAN AND DEVELOPER OF BRANDS AND WE LIKE THAT. BUT, 3G IS A GOOD OPERATOR TOO AS EVIDENCE BY – THEY WEREN'T ACTUALLY THE OWNER OF ANHEUSER-BUSCH BUT IT IS THE SAME MANAGERIAL GROUP. I WOULD SAY THIS, I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER SEEN A BETTER DEVELOPED MANAGEMENT GROUP THAN THE ONE THAT JORGE PAULO LEMANN HAS DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS IN BRAZIL AND HE IS AN INCREDIBLE GUY.

SORKIN: SO WHAT HAPPENS TO THIS CURRENT MANAGEMENT TEAM AT HEINZ INCLUDING BILL JOHNSON?

BUFFETT: WELL, THEY WILL WORK WITH THE 3G PEOPLE.

SORKIN: AND SO YOU EXPECT BILL JOHNSON TO KEEP HIS JOB?

BUFFETT: I WOULD EXPECT IT, BUT THE 3G PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE OF THINGS.

KERNEN: WARREN, YOU BUY AT ANY TIME WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING WORTH BUYING, BUT SHOULD WE READ ANYTHING INTO AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT FOR DEAL MAKING BASED ON WHAT IS A PRETTY BIG ACQUISITION EVEN FOR YOU?

BUFFETT: NO, IT JUST MEANS WE FOUND SOMETHING. ANY TIME WE SEE A DEAL THAT'S ATTRACTIVE AND IT'S OUR KIND OF BUSINESS AND WE HAVE THE MONEY, YOU KNOW, I'M READY TO GO.

KERNEN: AND I KNOW YOU – I COULDN'T HELP BUT THINK YOU MUST BE KICKING YOURSELF YOU JUST DIDN'T HOLD THAT U.S. AIRWAYS LONG ENOUGH, DID YOU?

BUFFETT: WELL, I KICK MYSELF OVER THAT, I KICK MYSELF OVER GIVING YOU THAT GOOD LOOKING TIE. I MEAN, I SHOULD BE WEARING THAT MYSELF.

KERNEN: LIKE I SAID, YOU GOT THE WRITE OFF FOR THE TIE.

BUFFETT: YOU HAVE NOT SEEN MY TAX RETURN. YOU GET AROUND PLENTY, JOE.

KERNEN: YOU'RE RIGHT. YOU KNOW WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT? I'M TRYING OT FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH, THIS IS NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, BUT TERESA HEINZ KERRY STILL HAS A LOT OF HEINZ STOCK AND IT WAS A GOOD DAY FOR JOHN WHEN HE GOT CONFIRMED, BUT THIS HAS GOT TO BE EVEN A BETTER DAY. I LOOKED AT THEIR TAX RATE LAST YEAR AND I FORGET – SHE IS WORTH ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS – 12 PERCENT. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WARREN IS TALKING ABOUT.

SORKIN: THAT 20 PERCENT PREMIUM IS OFF OF AN ALL-TIME HIGH.

KERNEN: OFF OF AN ALL-TIME HIGH. I MEAN ARE THEY DANCING? AND I DON'T KNOW AT THIS POINT, BUT THAT WILL PUT A BOUNCE IN THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S STEP TODAY I WOULD THINK. THAT'S INTERESTING WARREN. NOW I THINK YOU ARE JUST GOING TO BY EVERY NAME BRAND CONSUMER PRODUCT, CONSUMER GOODS COMPANY AND YOU ARE A GREAT INVESTOR, BUT THIS DOESN'T SEEM LIKE IT TAKES THAT – YOU DON'T EVEN REALLY NEED TO BE THAT SMART TO DO THIS, DO YOU?

BUFFETT: THAT'S ABSOLUTELY THE KIND OF DEALS I LOOK FOR, JOE. IF YOU HAVE TO BE SMART TO DO A DEAL, FORGET IT, I WON'T BE THERE.

QUICK: HEY WARREN, REALLY QUICKLY, THE PRICE IS 72.50 ON THIS RIGHT?

BUFFETT: RIGHT.

QUICK: WE ARE LOOKING AT THE STOCK WHICH IS TRADING AT 72.95. ARE YOU GOING TO PAY AN EXTRA 42 CENTS?

BUFFETT: NO. I CAN GIVE YOU THE ANSWER TO THAT ONE.

QUICK: SO IF PEOPLE ARE TRADING HIGHER THAN THIS, GO AWAY?

BUFFETT: WELL, THEY GOT THE LAST PENNY OUT OF ME.

SORKIN: NO, BUT REALLY, WE ARE AT 72.90 RIGHT NOW. SO WARREN, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE?

BUFFETT: WELL, WE'VE BOUGHT A NUMBER OF COMPANIES WHERE THEY HAVE TRADED TEMPORARILY HIGHER. THAT IS NOT UNUSUAL.

JACK WELCH: YOU CAN THROW IN MY PURPLE SHOES, WARREN. TO TOP IT OFF.

KERNEN: I FORGOT ABOUT THAT.

QUICK: ALRIGHT SO, ABOVE 72.50 LOOK OUT BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE YOUR FINAL AND LAST OFFER AND THIS IS IT 72.50.

BUFFETT: YOU BET.

QUICK: OK AS YOU ARE SAYING THAT THE STOCK IS COMING BACK DOWN.

BUFFETT: EVEN IF THEY START PRINTING A NEW COIN CALLED THE MILL YOU WILL NOT FIND ME USING IT.

KERNEN: WARREN, WHENEVER YOU CALL IN, YOU KNOW THAT NOW WE ARE GOING TO BE – I THINK CRAMER COMES ON AT SIX. SO WE ARE GOING TO TRY AND KEEP THIS GOING NOW THAT WE HAVE YOU ON EVEN THOUGH YOU CALLED IN ABOUT HEINZ BECAUSE WE LIKE TO GET AS MUCH INFORMATION AS WE CAN WHILE WE HAVE THE ORACLE ON.

BUFFETT: OK WELL WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE ORE-IDA POTATOES. THEY HAVE HASHBROWNS.

SORKIN: SYNERGY.

KERNEN: HE'S GOING TO KEEP IT TO HEINZ AT THIS POINT.

QUICK: ACTUALLY, WHILE WE HAVE YOU HERE, LET ME ASK YOU. ONE OF THE BIG STORIES THAT HAS BEEN OUT HAS BEEN MOODY'S. AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED WITH S&P, THE TROUBLE THEY ARE IN WITH THE GOVERNMENT, MOODY'S STOCK HAS BEEN PUNISHED BY THIS TOO. HOW MUCH MOODY'S DO YOU STILL OWN?

BUFFETT: WELL WE OWN, WE HAVEN'T CHANGED OUR OWNERSHIP IN AT LEAST, OH I DON'T KNOW, I'M SURE ALMOST A YEAR. I MEAN WITH MOODY'S WE OWN OVER 10 PERCENT SO ANY TIME WE HAVE, IF WE HAD A PURCHASE, WHICH WE HAVEN'T HAD, OR A SALE, WE HAVE TO REPORT IT WITHIN TWO DAYS SO THAT GETS PICKED UP VERY VERY QUICKLY. AND I KNOW WE HAVEN'T SOLD ANY ANYWAY. I'M NOT AT THE OFFICE NOW, SO I DON'T HAVE THE NUMBER OF SHARES IN FRONT OF ME, BUT IT IS SOMETHING OVER TEN PERCENT BECAUSE WE ARE STILL IN A SITUATION WHERE WE WOULD HAVE TO REPORT WITHIN TWO DAYS IF WE BOUGHT OR SOLD ANY. AND WE HAVEN'T SOLD ANY FOR A LONG TIME.

QUICK: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT'S CASE AGAINST, FIRST OF ALL S&P, AND POTENTIALLY THAT SPREADING OUT TO THE OTHER RATINGS AGENCIES?

BUFFETT: YEAH WELL, WE WILL JUST HAVE TO SEE WHAT THE FACTS ARE AND THE LAW. THEY PICKED STANDARD AND POORS SO THEY MUST THINK THEY HAVE A SOMEWHAT BETTER CASE AGAINST THEM. BUT OBVIOUSLY, IF STANDARD AND POORS WERE TO LOSE THE CASE, MOODY'S WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE A SECONDARY A LOGICAL TARGET.

KERNEN: WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS OR WHAT KIND OF ENVIRONMENT ARE YOUR VAST ARRAY OF BUSINESSES SEEING DOMESTICALLY, WARREN? IS IT A MINUS POINT ONE PERCENT ECONOMY THEY ARE DEALING WITH? OR ABOUT A TWO AND A HALF PERCENT ECONOMY?

BUFFETT: JOE, IT HAS REALLY BEEN REMARKABLY SIMILAR SINCE THE LATE SUMMER OF 2009. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, ITS JUST SLOWLY BEEN IMPROVING AND SOMETIMES THE SENTIMENT GETS STRONGER AND SOMETIMES THE SENTIMENT GETS WEAKER, BUT THE ECONOMY, IF YOU LOOK AT OUR BUSINESSES, THEY HAVE STEADILY GOTTEN BETTER, BUT NOT AT A FAST CLIP. AND THAT CONTINUES RIGHT TO THIS DAY. YOU KNOW THE CAR LOADINGS OF THE BURLINGTON IN JANUARY AND SO FAR IN FEBRUARY THEY ARE UP SOMEWHAT, BUT COAL IS DOWN AND OIL IS UP. AND AS EVERYBODY KNOWS, HOUSING IS COMING BACK WITH A FAIR AMOUNT OF STRENGTH NOW, BUT FROM AN EXTREMELY LOW BASE. BUT THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO IMPROVE, BUT IT DOESN'T DO IT AT A RAPID CLIP.

QUICK: THAT'S VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT JACK HAS BEEN TELLING US THIS MORNING, TOO. JACK, YOU SEE THAT SAME THING WITH THE BUSINESS?

WELCH: ABSOLUTELY IT IS STEADY, BUT SLOW. NOT NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH. AND I'M CONCERNED THAT THINGS – WE'VE GOT TWO BIG THINGS COMING AT US. WE GOT DODD-FRANK, WHICH IS OUT YET REALLY, AND WE GOT OBAMACARE. AND OBAMACARE, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE COMPLEXITIES IN THAT PLAN, HEALTHCARE COSTS ARE GOING TO GO UP AND NOT GOING TO GO DOWN. AND YOU'VE GOT TEMPORARY WORKERS TO DEAL WITH. RETAILERS GOT A HELL OF A PROBLEM AND HAVE GONE FROM 35 HOURS A WEEK TO 30 HOURS A WEEK FOR A TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE. IF YOU'VE GOT 50 EMPLOYEES YOU WANT 49. SO MANY COMPLEXITIES IN THESE TWO THINGS. SO MY CONCERN FOR ACCELERATION IS REGULATORY. WARREN MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT VIEW ON THAT.

QUICK: WARREN, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

BUFFETT: WELL, THE INTERESTING THING IS, I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING JACK HAS SAID. BUT I DON'T COME AWAY AS PESSIMISTIC AS HE DOES, BUT HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH HEALTHCARE AND EVERYTHING. I MEAN I DON'T DISAGREE WITH A WORD THAT HE SAID.

WELCH: I'M NOT PESSIMISTIC, WARREN. I'M NOT PESSIMISTIC. I JUST THINK WE ARE AT A POSITION WHERE WE COULD REALLY TAKE OFF IF WE HAD THE RIGHT POLICIES.

BUFFETT: THE INTERESTING THING KIND OF IS, AMERICA REALLY IS DOING BETTER THAN THE REST OF THE WORLD. YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY THINKS WE WERE LAGGING, BUT I THINK FROM WHAT I SEE, THE U.S. IS THE STRONGEST PART OF THE WORLD. BUT IT IS NOT GALLOPING BACK AT ALL. IT IS INCREMENTALLY IMPROVING AND JACK IS RIGHT ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE COSTS AND YOU KNOW, THERE IS ALWAYS A LOT OF PROBLEMS ON THE HORIZON. IN THE END, I GO WITH THAT NEW COUNTRY SONG THAT EVERY STORM RUNS OUT OF RAIN. I THINK WE WILL SEE IMPROVEMENT, STEADY IMPROVEMENT, BUT NOT NECESSARILY A FAST CLIP.

KERNEN: THAT IS A REALLY POPULAR SONG RIGHT NOW. COUNTRY. AND WE ARE GOING TO CALL THAT UP AND PLAY IT WHEN WE FINALLY GO TO BREAK. EVERY STORM RUNS OUT OF RAIN. GARY ALLAN, I THINK IS HIS NAME. WE ARE GOING TO PLAY IT. BUT WE DO SEE NOW, MAYBE FREE TRADE STUFF COMING BACK IN THE PICTURE. WE HAVEN'T TALKED TO YOU ABOUT THAT. THAT'S GOOD, RIGHT? THAT THE PRESIDENT IS PROPOSING –

WELCH: WELL THE FACT THAT HE MENTIONED IT. AND WE'VE GOT TO GET A PACIFIC DEAL AND WE'VE GOT TO GET AN ATLANTIC DEAL. AND THE FACT THAT THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO GET BILATERAL OR MULTILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS THERE IS A BIG DEAL. IF WE CAN BRING EVERYBODY ALONG THAT'S ANOTHER KICK TO THE ECONOMY.

KERNEN: WARREN, YOU OWN DAIRY QUEEN AND OTHER THINGS. IS THE RIGHT WAY TO HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE? WILL THAT AFFECT YOU OR THE HIRING?

BUFFETT: I'VE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT FOR 50 YEARS. I MEAN, I KNOW THE ARGUMENT IS ON BOTH SIDES. I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE OUT NECESSARILY WHETHER IT IS A PLUS. I MEAN THERE ARE PROBABLY CERTAIN PEOPLE OUT OF THE LABOR FORCE AND ON THE OTHER HAND IT DOES HAVE AN EFFECT ON RATES AT THE LOWER LEVEL. I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER, IF I WERE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WHETHER I WOULD TAKE THAT POSITION OR NOT.

WELCH: WARREN, DOESN'T IT SOUND A LOT BETTER MORALLY, BUT IN THE END IT DOESN'T DELIVER JOBS?

BUFFETT: WELL, THAT'S THE QUESTION. I MEAN, IT MAY DRIVE AWAY SOME JOBS. FOR THAT MATTER.

WELCH: RIGHT.

BUFFETT: YEAH. I ACTUALLY WORKED AT THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR A WHILE BACK WHEN.

KERNEN: YEAH, YEAH RIGHT.

BUFFETT: I WAS GLAD THAT MINIMUM WAGE WAS 75 CENTS AN HOUR INSTEAD OF 60.

KERNEN: RIGHT. WAS THERE ELECTRICITY THEN?

WELCH: GET OUT THE VIOLIN.

KERNEN: EDISON WAS FLYING A KITE. OR WAS THAT FRANKLIN? I DON'T KNOW. HEY YOU KNOW, DID YOU SEE JOHN CHAMBERS, WARREN, SAID THAT HE'S GOT I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY BILLIONS OVERSEAS, BUT I THINK – HE'S GOT 46 BILLION IN CASH, 39 BILLION OVERSEAS. HE SAYS IF HE CAN'T BRING IT BACK, HE'S DOING ACQUISITIONS OVERSEAS AND HIRING PEOPLE OVERSEAS. THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS. IF HE'S GOT TO GROW CISCO, IT'S GOING TO BE GROWING IT OVER THERE.

BUFFETT: YEAH, BUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT OF COURSE IS IF YOU LET HIM BRING IT BACK AND JUST ENJOY THE LOW RATES OVER THERE HE'LL INVEST EVEN MORE OVER THERE. THAT TAX RATE WILL

KERNEN: WHAT IF HE DID SOMETHING PERMANENTLY THOUGH? ISN'T THERE A WAY WHERE WE CAN DO THIS WHERE IT ACTUALLY WORKS, JACK? IS THERE A WAY TO DO IT?

WELCH: I MEAN, TAX SITUATION YEAH. WE HAVEN'T DEALT WITH IT. WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH IT.

KERNEN: RIGHT.

SORKIN: I'VE GOT TWO QUICK QUESTIONS THAT ARE COMING IN FROM VARIOUS VIEWERS FOR YOU WARREN ON THIS PARTICULAR DEAL THIS MORNING. ONE IS, DO YOU EXPECT TO USE HEINZ, OR DOES 3G EXPECT TO USE HEINZ AS A ROLL UP VEHICLE? THEY HAVE DONE THIS NOW IN THE BEER INDUSTRY, WILL THEY TRY TO DO THIS WITH OTHER BRANDS?

BUFFETT: YEAH, WELL, I WOULD SAY THIS. JORGE PAULO AND I ARE VERY GOOD FRIENDS. WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS DEAL AND NEITHER HE NOR I LIKE TO THINK OF THIS AS OUR LAST DEAL. WE WILL BE BUYING THINGS. HE GENERATES CASH, WE GENERATE CASH. I LOVE BEING PARTNERS WITH HIM AND IT IS CERTAINLY POSSIBLE. NO PLAN IN MIND NOW, IN TERMS OF ANYTHING SPECIFIC, BUT I WOULD HOPE THAT OVER TIME, WE WOULD BE ADDING TO THIS.

SORKIN: AND THE OTHER QUESTION, THIS COMES IN ACTUALLY FROM A NUMBER OF INVESTORS AND WE SHOULD PROBABLY ASK HEINZ THE QUESTION, WILL THEY CONTINUE TO PAY THEIR DIVIDEND THROUGH THE CLOSE OF THIS TRANSACTION?

BUFFETT: I HAVEN'T ACTUALLY LOOKED AT THE FINAL CONTRACT ON THAT, BUT I'D SAY THAT IN MOST DEALS I'VE SEEN IT IS THE CASE THAT THE DIVIDEND GETS PAID. AND I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYTHING DIFFERENT, BUT I HAVEN'T ACTUALLY READ THAT SPECIFIC PART OF THE CONTRACT.

QUICK: HEY WARREN, CAN I JUST GO BACK TO SOMETHING YOU SAID BECAUSE IT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE HAVE HEARD FROM A LOT OF MARKET STRATEGISTS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF 2013. YOU STILL THINK THAT THE U.S. IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE INVESTING. AM I HEARING THAT CORRECTLY? YOU SAID THAT GROWTH IS BEST HERE, BUT DOES THAT TRANSLATE INTO THIS BEING THE BEST PLACE TO INVEST?

BUFFETT: I CERTAINLY FEEL THAT WAY. WE AT BERKSHIRE SPENT OVER 9 BILLION DOLLARS ON PLANT AND EQUIPMENT LAST YEAR AND 95 PERCENT OF THAT WAS IN THE UNITED STATES. THAT IS A RECORD AMOUNT FOR US. WE ARE GOING TO SPEND EVEN MORE THIS YEAR AND AGAIN IT WILL PROBABLY BE 95 PERCENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THERE'S A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

WELCH: I SECOND THAT ONE. I SECOND THAT ONE IN SPADES.

QUICK: IT IS CRAZY THOUGH, WE HAVE HEARD FROM A LOT OF INVESTMENT STRATEGISTS WHO SAID YOU GOT YOUR GAINS LAST YEAR IN THE U.S. STOCK MARKET, YOU SHOULD LOOK ELSEWHERE AT THIS POINT. THAT OTHER MARKETS WILL OUTPERFORM.

WELCH: WELL, IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT STOCK MARKETS I'M NOT THINKING THAT. I'M SAYING IF YOU ARE GOING TO, I DON'T KNOW THE STOCK MARKET, BUT I KNOW IF YOU ARE GOING TO INVEST, THIS IS THE PLACE. THERE ARE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES HERE NOW.

QUICK: AND WARREN, THIS IS ANOTHER THING THAT WE SHOULD ASK YOU ABOUT. ART CASHIN REMINDS ME, HE WANTED TO KNOW WHAT YOU SAW IN THE NYSE BASED ON THE STORY THAT BERKSHIRE HAD BEEN ANOTHER BIDDER FOR THE NYSE.

BUFFETT: WELL, I GUESS THE ANSWER IS I DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING BECAUSE I WAS NEVER CONTACTED PERSONALLY IN ANY WAY, NEVER HAD A PHONE CALL, NEVER HAD AN EMAIL FROM ANYBODY IN CONNECTION WITH THE NYSE. THERE WAS SOME CONTACT WITH SOMEBODY ELSE AT THE OFFICE. BUT LIKE I SAY, NOBODY FROM ANY INVESTMENT BANKING FIRM EVER PUT A PHONE CALL INTO ME, OR EMAILED ME AND WHEN THEY PREPARED THE PROXY NOBODY CHECKED WITH ME.

QUICK: SO WHEN PEOPLE SAY BERKSHIRE WAS INTERESTED, IT DIDN'T MEAN YOU IN THIS CASE.

BUFFETT: IT SURE WASN'T THE CEO OF BERKSHIRE, I'LL PUT IT THAT WAY.

QUICK: AND WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN INTERESTED?

BUFFETT: NO.

SORKIN: AND WARREN, WHILE WE ARE TAKING SPECULATION OFF THE TABLE, A LOT OF REPORTS YESTERDAY ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO TIME INC. THE MAGAZINE DIVISON OF TIME WARNER. THERE WAS SOME SPECULATION. YOU WERE INVOLVED IN PART BECAUSE BYRON TROTT IS ONE OF THE ADVISORS IN THE TRANSACTION, I THINK RELATED TO MEREDITH. YOU OBVIOUSLY DO LOVE THE PRINT BUSINESS, BUT WOULD YOU EVER BUY A MAGAZINE BUSINESS?

BUFFETT: NO. THE ANSWER IS NO.

SORKIN: JUST MAKING SURE.

BUFFETT: THE FIRST I HEARD OF IT WAS YESTERDAY.

KERNEN: ALRIGHT. WARREN, YOU KNOW YOU SENT ME A BRICK. YOU'VE SENT ME THIS UGLY TIE. YOU'VE SENT ME SOME SEE'S CANDIES AND YOU SENT ME A NETJET CARD THAT DOESN'T WORK.

QUICK: YOU ARE SUCH A GRACIOUS RECEIVER OF GIFTS.

KERNEN: BUT DON'T BOTHER WITH THE KETCHUP.

BUFFETT: DO I DETECT A NOTE OF COMPLAINT IN THIS?

KERNEN: WARREN, DON'T BOTHER SENDING ME ANY OF THIS KETCHUP.

SORKIN: WARREN, ON YOUR BEHALF, I'M GIVING THIS RIGHT HERE.

QUICK: YOU ARE SUCH A GRUMP.

KERNEN: SAVE THE POSTAGE.

BUFFETT: TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF THIS? YOU WANT POTATOES OR KETCHUP?

KERNEN: YEAH OK SEND SOME MORE. THAT'S THE THING, HE WILL. SEND THE NETJET CARD.

BUFFETT: A BIG SACK OF POTATOES. I THINK THAT WOULD LOOK NICE ON THE SET.

QUICK: HEY WARREN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR GIVING US THE TIME THIS MORNING, WE REALLY APPRECIATE.

BUFFETT: OK, GREAT TO TALK TO YOU.


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