10 top brands Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway keeps it simple with these brands

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Legendary investor Warren Buffett has many monikers. Oracle of Omaha. Champion of philanthropy. Fun lovin' banjo player.

As the chief executive and primary shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has built an empire by taking big stakes in companies he believes in, particularly those that are easy to understand. Many of those businesses are recognizable brands in consumers' everyday lives—from ketchup to chocolate.

This weekend, roughly 38,000 shareholders and fans flocked to the annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska to hear Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger answer hours of questions about the company's future.

In honor of the annual pilgrimage, sometimes called "Woodstock for Capitalists," here's a highlight of popular brandssome more familiar than othersthat Berkshire Hathaway owns as subsidiaries.

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By CNBC's Heesun Wee. Follow her on Twitter , and Facebook.

Heinz

A worker stocks bottles of Heinz ketchup bearing a caricature of Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, during the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After years of eyeing H.J. Heinz, Buffett last year forged an agreement to acquire the ketchup maker. Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital Management, a Brazilian private equity firm, announced they would pay $72.50 a share, or $23.3 billion, for Heinz.

Buffett told CNBC earlier Monday the deal is going well. "Heinz is our kind of company with fantastic brands," he told CNBC in February 2013.

Fruit of the Loom

Warren Buffett listens to a performance at the Fruit of the Loom booth in the exhibition area of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2005.
Eric Francis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Berkshire in 2001 announced the acquisition of Fruit of the Loom from bankruptcy protection.

The company is a decades-long, venerable brand. In 1871, Fruit of the Loom was registered as an official trademark, making it one of the world's oldest brands—predating the invention of light bulbs, cars and telephones.

Buffett enjoys promoting the underwear maker, and in 2011 Buffett wore an "underwear" tie on CNBC's "Squawk Box." And to reiterate Fruit of the Loom's plebian motto: "We cover the asses of the masses."

Benjamin Moore

Warren Buffett learns the fine art of filling a can of paint at Benjamin Moore's Newark, N.J. paint plant during his first visit to a Benjamin Moore plant on Tues May 8, 2001.
Getty Images

Berkshire in 2000 announced it would buy the paints brand.

The company made headlines last year when Buffett said he replaced Benjamin Moore's CEO to keep a promise not to sell the company's paints in big-box retail stores—a unique quality associated with the brand.

Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Buffett has said he removed Denis Abrams as chief executive because Abrams was about to sign an agreement to sell through a larger retailer.

Geico

GEICO Chairman and CEO Tony Nicely, left, and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, right, pose with the GEICO gecko mascot during a ceremony in Trenton, New Jersey on Monday, August 16, 2004 announcing that GEICO will begin providing auto insurance coverage in New Jersey.
Curt Hudson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In 1996, Geico became a subsidiary of Berkshire, as Buffett acquired the rest of Geico it already did not own.

Geico, short for Government Employees Insurance Company, has grown as consumers have grown more comfortable buying insurance online or over the phone, rather than through in-person agencies. In 2013, Geico became the second largest, U.S. auto insurance company and bumped Allstate to the number three slot. State Farm Insurance remains the largest auto insurer in the U.S. by a large margin, Crain's reports.

The insurer Geico also has taken advantage of an aggressive marketing campaign featuring a sassy, green gecko. There's even an online Geico storefront.

Nebraska Furniture Mart

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett strikes a pose on the "Warren mattress"' at the booth of Berkshire-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart, at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha.
AP

Buffett likes furniture. And a key part of the Berkshire weekend is discounts for shareholders at the Nebraska Furniture Mart and jewelry store Borsheims, both in Omaha.

As a reward for shopping shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow stockholders, shoppers get treated to magic shows and appearances by Buffett himself. He's challenged guests with games of chess, table tennis and bridge over the years, according to Omaha.net. Berkshire bought the Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1983 in a $60 million deal.

Borsheims Fine Jewelry & Gifts

Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., left, stands with Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft Corp., as they play table tennis outside Borsheims Jewelry Company, Inc., in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 5, 2013.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Borsheims has been a Berkshire subsidiary since 1989.

Deals at Borsheims for Berkshire shareholders is an annual Omaha tradition. But this year, the retailer turned it up and notch and offered limited-edition diamonds for sale exclusively to stockholders who attended the meeting, Forbes reported.

NetJets

Warren Buffett and Jordan Hansell on CNBC's Squawk Box in Omaha, Nebraska.
Lacy O'Toole | CNBC

After three years of being a NetJets owner, Buffett was so enamored he bought the entire company in 1998.

The private jet company has seen a surge in new customers as the U.S. economy has rebounded. More customers have been taking part in NetJets' fractional ownership options, and current owners have been flying more hours, NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell and Warren Buffett told CNBC last year.

The Pampered Chef

Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., dons an apron with the inscription "Berkshire Cooks!" as he visits the booth of The Pampered Chef, a company owned by Berkshire Hathaway, on the exhibit floor of the Qwest Convention Center in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, May 1, 2004.
AP

In 2002, Berkshire announced it would acquire The Pampered Chef, a kitchenware company.

The Pampered Chef boasts a clever strategy. It encourages consumers to sell kitchen products such as peelers and whisks through in-home parties, a direct-sales system that's been used for years by companies like Tupperware and Mary Kay. The business offers flexibility for working mothers.

See’s Candies

A photograph of Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., appears on a box of See's Candies peanut brittle on display in the Brooks booth during the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway acquired the small, California-based candy company in 1972, and it has since become an integral part of the Berkshire lore and weekend tradition.

See's notably was among the first high quality businesses that Berkshire bought. Previously, Berkshire had focused on undervalued assets that could be bought cheap, the San Francisco Journal reported. The See's acquisition shaped Berkshire's commitment to buying businesses with strong reputations and brand recognitiona Berkshire hallmark.

See's features old-time candies and best sellers include assorted boxed chocolates and lollipops.

Dairy Queen

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett flips over a Dairy Queen Blizzard treat, the most successful product ever released in the history of Dairy Queen.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

American Dairy Queen is a Berkshire subsidiary that features iconic food including soft-serve treats and Dilly Bars.

Buffett may be a billionaire but he has been known to shun posh food. At a recent visit to the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, Buffett insisted on dining on Dairy Queen and Coke, which Berkshire also has a stake in, according to the New York Post.