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Munich Re 'Pleased' With Warren Buffett's $1 Billion Stake

The German reinsurance giant Munich Re says its happy Warren Buffett has a built a stake in the company worth over $1 billion.

A spokeswoman for the company tells Dow Jones, "We are pleased about every investor, that's a confirmation of our sustainable strategy."

This morning, Munich Re announced that Berkshire Hathaway's stake stood at 3.045 percent on January 18. The three percent level triggers a public disclosure under German rules.

Reuters quotes JP Morgan analyst Michael Huttner as saying, "It appears to be a portfolio investment for Buffett rather than a strategic one." According to Reuters, Morgan believes industry regulatory changes could greatly benefit Munich Re "because of its ability to generate excess capital and grow its business."

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Merck Finck analyst Konrad Becker agrees that Buffett is simply betting on Munich Re's stock price, telling Bloomberg, "I would doubt that Buffett is interested in taking over Munich Re as that would expose Berkshire, which already has a significant reinsurance business, too much to the sector."

Back in April of 2008, Munich Re first told shareholders that Buffett had a stake, but didn't say how big it was.

Buffett also has ties to another big reinsurer in Europe. Last week, Berkshire took on some of Swiss Re's U.S. individual life reinsurance business and last year Berkshire bought a three percent stake.

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