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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is up three spots on the Global 500 this year. The enormous holding company’s revenues fell slightly last year to $245.5 billion (down 3.6% from 2019), while profits swooned (down 47.8%) to a still heady $42.5 billion. But investors remain bullish about Berkshire. In May 2021, the company’s famously expensive Class A shares hit an unusual record: They traded above $429,496.7295, the highest price Nasdaq’s 32-bit computer system can handle. In its investment portfolio, Berkshire kept its massive stakes in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and American Express, though it bailed out of airline stocks and several other bank stocks last year. As for leadership, Buffett, 90, announced in early May 2021 that Greg Abel, who currently leads Berkshire’s noninsurance businesses, would eventually succeed him as CEO, but gave no timeline. Ajit Jain, who heads up the insurance businesses, would be next in line. And what do Berkshire’s famously trend-averse leaders think of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and cryptocurrency, two big themes of this year? At Berkshire’s 2021 annual meeting, Buffett called SPACs “a killer” because they are making economical acquisition targets harder to find. And there’s no love for crypto either. At the same meeting, vice chairman Charlie Munger called Bitcoin “disgusting,” quipping, “Bitcoin reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said about foxhunting. He said it was the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.”
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