Buffett says recently mulled $22 billion deal

OMAHA, Nebraska Sat May 5, 2012 12:09pm EDT

1 of 2. Shareholders crowd into a shopping center for a cocktail reception at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha May 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lane Hickenbottom

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OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday said he recently mulled doing a $22 billion acquisition for his Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Speaking at Berkshire's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett said he would have done the transaction if he could, and liked it so much that he would have sold some of Berkshire's stock holdings that he would not otherwise have wanted to sell. He did not identify the takeover target.

Buffett also said that if Berkshire did not make a major deal this year, it could look at one larger than $30 billion next year.

A $22 billion takeover would be nearly as large as Berkshire's biggest acquisition to date, its $26.5 billion purchase in 2010 of the railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Berkshire ended March with $37.83 billion of cash and equivalents, giving Buffett the firepower to do one or more major acquisitions.

(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz in Omaha and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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