Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Warren Buffett Finances Mars-Wrigley Deal: The Complete CNBC Interview

Becky Quick: Warren, thanks for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.

Warren Buffett: My pleasure.

Becky: People are always trying to figure out what you're doing with your cash. Why would you look at Wrigley right now? Why this deal right now?

Buffett: Well, I've been conducting a 70-year taste test, Becky, since I was about seven years old, on the products. I've done the same thing with Mars products. And they met the 70-year taste test (laughs.) But to tell you the truth, the Mars people asked me about participating in this, and we are financing. But we are a very, very junior partner, although we will have about 6-1/2 billion dollars in it. But we are a financing partner, in effect, for Mars in this acquisition.

Becky: Six-and-a-half billion dollars, though. That's still a substantial take. What do you look at beyond just the taste test? Do you think that this is the type of a bet that makes a good deal when you're looking at economic hardship times? Is this a recession-proof play?

Buffett: Yeah. Both companies have great brands. When I talk to classes of university students, for a dozen years or more I've used Wrigley as an example ... I haven't known about Mars except that they're a provate company. But there is really nothing that can go wrong with something like the Wrigley or the Mars brands. It's literally true that they have, ah, faced the test of time over decades and decades and people use more and more of their products every day.

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