According to an announcement on the website of the US Department of Justice, Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to pay an $896,000 civil penalty for settling charges of violation of antitrust pre-merger notification requirements. The violation occurred when Warren Buffet run Berkshire Hathaway acquired voting securities of the USG Corp.
A civil lawsuit was filed today against the company at the request of the Federal Trade Commission by the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Simultaneously the department filed a proposed settlement, setting the ground for a settlement.
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Back in December 2013, Berkshire Hathaway acquired USG voting securities and held about 28%, valued at more than $950 million. According to current legislation, a notification and waiting period requirements have been set out for such transactions which cross certain size thresholds. The regulation is in place to open the possiblity for a pre-merger antitrust review.
This is the second time in the company’s history when it failed to file a timely notice of large acquisitions. The company’s CEO, Warren Buffet, has stated in a company announcement, “We made a mistake when we overlooked the filing requirement. Berkshire had owned convertible notes of USG since 2008 and was effectively forced to convert the notes when they were called for redemption by USG in December 2013. This event triggered a filing requirement for Berkshire and we were late in realizing that fact.”