An early Berkshire Hathaway investor joined the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans this year.
Stewart Horejsi, who first bought into Warren Buffett’s company in 1980, has a $3 billion net worth.
Horejsi paid less than $300 for his first Berkshire shares, which are now worth $522,000 each.
Warren Buffett has overseen a more than 4,000,000% increase in the value of Berkshire Hathaway stock since becoming CEO in 1965. One of his early shareholders just made Forbes’ annual rundown of the 400 wealthiest Americans, largely because he owns Berkshire stock.
Stewart Horejsi and his family are worth an estimated $3 billion, ranking them 379th on the latest Forbes 400 list published this week. They’re officially richer than basketball icon Michael Jordan, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, chewing-gum heir William Wrigley Jr, and even Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger.
Buffett himself ranked fourth on the Forbes list this year with a $121 billion fortune, even though he’s gifted more than half his Berkshire shares to good causes. Both he and Horejsi have seen their fortunes grow this year, as Berkshire shares have surged to record highs in recent weeks.
Horejsi first invested in Berkshire in 1980 because he was frustrated by the fierce competition facing his family business, he told Bloomberg in 2013. He promptly bought 300 shares at prices ranging from $265 to $330, and gradually increased his stake to 5,800 shares at its peak, before reducing it to 4,300 shares starting in 1998.
Berkshire’s Class A shares are now worth $522,000 each, valuing Horejsi’s remaining shares at $2.2 billion. He disclosed another $350 million of other assets to Bloomberg in 2013, and his family fortune appears to have grown to north of $3 billion since then.
Horejsi has attended more than 30 of Buffett’s famous annual meetings, including some early ones where fewer than a dozen shareholders sat in folding chairs in a cafeteria, he told Bloomberg. Thousands of people now descend on Buffett’s hometown of Omaha each spring, filling an arena and generating big sales for local businesses.
Buffett has enriched shareholders such as Horejsi by making acquisitions, investing in stocks, and striking deals. The conglomerate now boasts a $750 billion market capitalization, and commands more than $1 trillion of assets. It owns scores of businesses including See’s Candies and Geico, and holds multibillion-dollar stakes in Apple, Coca-Cola, and other public companies.
The Berkshire chief famously recommends investing in high-quality companies and holding their shares for the long term. Horejsi’s vast fortune lends fresh support to his philosophy.