Warren Buffett confirms talks with Uber: 'I'm a great admirer of Dara'

Key Points
  • Buffett confirmed to CNBC that Berkshire Hathaway held talks with Uber.
  • Buffett's comments were in response to a Bloomberg report that said Berkshire offered Uber a $3 billion investment earlier this year.
Berkshire's Warren Buffett had discussions with Uber

Warren Buffett held talks with Uber, the legendary investor confirmed to CNBC Wednesday.

"I'm a great admirer of [Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi]," Buffett said. "Some of the reported details are not correct but it's true that Berkshire had discussions with Uber."

Buffett's comments were in response to a Bloomberg report that said Buffett's firm Berkshire Hathaway offered Uber a $3 billion investment earlier this year.

The offer came shortly after Japanese investment giant SoftBank secured its own stake in the ride-sharing company in January, according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources.

Uber and Berkshire Hathaway disagreed on the terms and size of the deal, according to the report, so Uber tried to talk Buffett into a smaller stake.

"One of my business goals in life has been to get Warren Buffett to invest in something that I'm involved in and, so far, I failed," Khosrowshahi told CNBC's Carl Quintanilla in an interview late Wednesday.

Khosrowshahi said it's possible the parties could revisit a deal in the future, but that Uber's "enormous growth trajectory" comes with "considerable risk."

"I don't think we necessarily fit in with the typical Warren Buffett investment. Maybe we can be a different kind of an investment, a portfolio diversification play for him," he said.

Buffett has a history of bailing out companies in crisis, but has historically stayed away from tech deals. He acknowledged earlier this month that he was "wrong" in passing on Google and Amazon.

SoftBank bought in with Uber at a valuation of $48 billion, a discount from the $66 billion that Uber was once said to be worth. Uber last week announced first quarter results and a tender offer that nudges its valuation past $60 billion.

The company has been in the middle of a reputational turnaround since its controversial founder Travis Kalanick was ousted last year. Khosrowshahi has emphasized rider safety, driver rights and better governmental relations in his 10 months as CEO.

A Berkshire investment would have served as something of a stamp of approval for Uber ahead of an eventual IPO. Buffett sent Apple's stock soaring earlier this month when he revealed a massive stake in the hardware giant.

—CNBC's Becky Quick and Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report.