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Berkshire Hathaway sells 2 short-line railroads

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm •  Published: December 26, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company has sold two short-line railroads it recently discovered it owned to satisfy regulators who might have reviewed Berkshire Hathaway's 2010 acquisition of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

Berkshire told the Transportation Department's Surface Transportation Board earlier this month that it had completed the sale of both short-line railroads ahead of schedule.

If Berkshire had reported owning those railroads when it bought BNSF, the Surface Transportation Board would have had to scrutinize the deal. Berkshire first disclosed owning the railroads to the Surface Transportation Board in September.

Buffett did not immediately respond to a message about the short-line railroads on Wednesday, but officials at Berkshire's BNSF and MidAmerican subsidiaries confirmed that the railroad sales were completed.

Before Berkshire acquired BNSF, Buffett sold the company's 9.6 million shares of Union Pacific Corp. and 1.9 million shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. to avoid problems with regulators.

A spokesman for the Surface Transportation Board did not immediately respond to a message on Wednesday. But officials at that agency appeared satisfied in October with Berkshire's plan to sell the small railroads by the end of the year.

Berkshire sold the 12-mile-long WCTU railroad that serves an industrial park near Medford, Ore., to RVTR Rail Holdings in December.

The WCTU railroad was owned by Railserve Inc., which is part of the industrial conglomerate Marmon Holdings. Berkshire has owned a controlling interest in Marmon since 2008.

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