In an exclusive interview today on Bloomberg Television, Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods, strongly defended the company’s acquisition of Cadbury which closed earlier this year. Ms. Rosenfeld believes that investors who remain skeptical regarding the acquisition will eventually be won over as projected synergies appear in financial results. Skeptical investors include Warren Buffett who opposed the acquisition and “felt poorer” based on the terms of the deal. Mr. Buffett has reduced Berkshire Hathaway’s stake in Kraft in the months since the Cadbury acquisition closed. Read this article for excepts and to view the video.
In a 13F Filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon, Berkshire reported holding 106.7 million shares of Kraft as of March 31, 2010 compared to nearly 138.3 million shares on December 31, 2009. In addition to the sale of Kraft shares, Berkshire liquidated shares in several other companies and added to positions in three companies. No new positions were initiated during the quarter. Let’s take a brief look at the Kraft sale and other transactions revealed in today’s report.
Most companies on a calendar fiscal year have released proxy statements over the past month. In addition to annual reports, intelligent investors must pay close attention to proxy statements to determine the company’s philosophy on executive compensation. Nearly every compensation committee includes what seems like boilerplate statements regarding aligning the incentives of management and shareholders. However, as we have seen on many occasions, such as the example provided by Kraft’s absurd compensation policies, shareholders must be vigilant when it comes to matching rhetoric with reality. Read this article for more details.