Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Tuesday announced
it would pay $1.5 billion to buy FlightSafety International Inc., a
company that operates pilot training centers and builds flight
simulators at a plant in Broken Arrow.
Other than a short statement, Buffett did not elaborate much on
"FlightSafety is a business that I like, run by a man I like and
admire," said Buffett, one of the country's most closely followed
There was no indication what impact his move would have on
FlightSafety's operations or its work force in Broken Arrow. Calls
to the plant were referred to the company's Flushing, N.Y.,
headquarters. Company officials there did not immediately return
The purchase of FlightSafety brings Buffett, perennially one of
the world's richest men, together with FlightSafety chairman and
chief executive Albert L. Ueltschi, who founded the company and has
assembled a massive fortune of his own.
Berkshire Hathaway, an Omaha, Neb.-based holding company, makes
large investments in other corporations, including stakes in Walt
Disney Co., Washington Post Co., Coca-Cola Co. and Gillette Co.
Over time, Buffett has become renowned for his investment acumen.
"This company has a reputation of being a top-notch company,
well-run, good business, good management. It's reasonably typical
of companies Buffett has purchased in the past," said George
Morgan, a stockbroker at Kirkpatrick Pettis in Omaha and an author
who has written about Buffett.
FlightSafety shares rose 12 percent on the news.
Based in New York, FlightSafety provides training to pilots,
using flight simulators and other techniques, and ship operators
throughout the world.
The company's chief, Ueltschi, has apparently done quite well.
On the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, he ranked
No. 332 this year with a fortune placed at $500 million.
Buffett ranked at No. 2 with a worth of $15 billion, surpassed
only by Microsoft's Bill Gates.
The purchase of FlightSafety calls for Berkshire to pay $50 in
cash for each FlightSafety share or $48 a share in Berkshire's
Class A or Class B common shares for a total value of $1.5 billion.
Cash will be limited to 58 percent of the overall price.