Getting to Dealmakers

BARNETT HELZBERG got the dealmaker of his dreams in a most unusual manner.

“My dream buyer for the family business all along was Warren Buffett,” said Helzberg, the owner-manager of Helzberg Diamonds shops. “I knew we could trust him to keep the headquarters in Kansas City, resist changing the company’s character, and retain the jobs of all of Helzberg’s associates. It might have been simpler to sell to the highest bidder, but that notion seemed as sensible as choosing a brain surgeon based on the lowest price rather than on talent and reputation.”

Now, Warren loves jewelry—not to wear, but to own as a business. Without a doubt, this was in the back of Helzberg’s mind when he bumped into Warren Buffett in New York ...

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