Bloomberg Businessweek

Look in Volume ‘B’ for Buffett

Why Berkshire Hathaway is still in the encyclopedia business

Warren Buffett has eclectic taste in companies. Along with large, thriving businesses such as Geico and the BNSF Railway, he’s accumulated a collection of head-scratchers. There’s a bowling shoe brand, a maker of vacuum cleaner bags, almost three dozen newspapers, and the manufacturer of Ginsu knives.

Then there’s World Book. Once sold to millions of American families, its encyclopedias were described by Buffett as “something special” when he acquired the company. And for years he wasn’t wrong. The business mattered enough to break out its earnings in annual reports for his Berkshire Hathaway Inc.—$32

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