How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off

By Dr Penny Pincher on 12 July 2017 0 comments

Over the years, Warren Buffett has built incredible wealth through the growth of his company Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company that includes stock of companies wholly-owned by Berkshire Hathaway, as well as positions in a number of large financial and consumer-oriented companies.

You might be interested in buying stock in the company that Warren Buffett manages himself, but shares of Berkshire Hathaway are currently selling for around $250,000 per share [BRK-A] which is out of reach of most small investors.

Berkshire Hathaway for small investors

Fortunately, there is a way to own Berkshire Hathaway with a smaller minimum investment. In 1996, Berkshire Hathaway started issuing Class B shares [BRK-B] with limited voting rights that are currently selling for about $170. Class B shares were offered to protect small investors from pursuing Berkshire Hathaway imitation funds with high fees or other unfavorable terms.

But Warren Buffett himself has advised against small investors buying Berkshire Hathaway stock. Berkshire Hathaway stock typically sells at a premium of 20 percent to 50 percent above the net asset value (NAV) of its holdings. Warren Buffett didn't get rich buying things for more that they are worth!

Berkshire Hathaway for 17 percent off

I decided to check out stocks with low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios trying to find a good value. While investigating, I stumbled upon an interesting fund called Boulder Growth & Income Fund [BIF]. This 1.2 billion dollar fund is composed of about 30 percent Berkshire Hathaway stock (23 percent Class A shares plus 7 percent Class B shares). BIF also includes large, deep value financial and consumer companies that Warren Buffett likes to hold.

A relevant fact about this fund is that it is selling for about 17 percent below net asset value. By contrast, Berkshire Hathaway is currently trading for about 40 percent over net asset value.

Getting Berkshire Hathaway and other blue chip stock at a deep discount sounds like a great deal, but why is BIF trading for 17 percent less than asset value? BIF is a closed-end fund, which means that no additional shares of the fund will be issued. Only the existing shares of the fund are available to be traded. This is different from open-end funds that are more common, where new shares continue to be issued when investments are received.

The trading price for BIF on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is subject to supply from investors wanting to sell and demand from investors wanting to buy. One downside of owning a closed-end fund is that there may not be a large pool of investors interested in buying when you want to sell. Plus, there is no guarantee that closed-end funds bought at a discount to NAV will ever converge to full market price. A drawback of BIF in particular is that the management fee is high: 1.43 percent total expense ratio in 2016.

Find discounted stock funds

If you are looking for value stocks, buying a closed-end fund at a significant discount is an alternative to other bargain-hunting strategies such as looking for stocks with low P/E ratios or following stock tips. As with any other investment, investigate to understand the goals of the fund, expenses and fees, and the financial health of the fund before buying.

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How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off

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