LESSON 6

The Language of Big Deals

“WE MADE a sizable acquisition in 1991—the H. H. Brown Company—and behind this business is an interesting history,” wrote Warren in that year’s letter to shareholders.

In 1927, a 29-year-old businessman named Ray Heffernan purchased H. H. Brown Company, then located in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, for $10,000 and began a 62-year career of running it. When Heffernan retired in early 1990, H. H. Brown had three plants in the United States and one in Canada, employed close to 2,000 people, and earned about $25 million annually before taxes. Brown (which, by the way, has no connection with the Brown Shoe Company of St. Louis, maker of Buster Brown shoes) was the leading North American manufacturer of work shoes ...

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