Berkshire Hathaway is a conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. Berkshire Hathaway's core business is insurance, including property and casualty insurance, reinsurance and specialty nonstandard insurance. The Company averaged a 25%+ annual return to its shareholders for the last 25 years while employing large amounts of capital and minimal debt.
Warren Buffett is the company's chairman and CEO. Buffett has used the "float" provided by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations (a policyholder's money which it holds temporarily until claims are paid out) to finance his investments. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, he focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including candy production; retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales; newspaper publishing; manufacture and distribution of uniforms; and manufacture, import and distribution of footwear.