Warren Buffett, the billionaire investment guru, will this week hold talks with a string of business executives across four European cities as he looks for acquisition opportunities for his Berkshire Hathaway vehicle and its cash pile of $35 billion.
The world's wealthiest person kicks off a four-city European tour today in Frankfurt, Germany's financial centre.
He travels to Lausanne, Switzerland, tomorrow, before moving on to Madrid, Spain on Wednesday and Milan, Italy on Thursday.
Mr Buffett, a renowned long-term investor in traditional family-owned companies, has publicly declared his intention to increase profits growth at Berkshire Hathaway outside its traditional home in America.
The 77-year-old businessman, whose investment comments are keenly followed by his legions of shareholders, has complained that there are insufficient domestic buying opportunities for Berkshire, which is valued at a massive $200 billion.
It emerged last month that Berkshire Hathaway was a prospective buyer for RBS Insurance, the owner of Churchill's and Direct Line that is being sold off by Royal Bank of Scotland with a price tag of an estimated £6 billion to £7 billion.
Mr Buffett told his annual meeting of shareholders last month that he was "probably close" to a UK acquisition.
An advocate of owning companies "for life", Mr Buffett has ensured that Berkshire has been well-placed to profit when firms are put on the block.
"If you have a great business, it's best not to sell it. But when the time comes, whether for taxes or siblings, we want to be the first ones they think of," he told shareholders.
Berkshire Hathaway has already made investments in China, Israel and the UK.
Among them are Iscar Metalworking Cos, the Israeli firm that was acquired in 2006 in Berkshire's first foray outside the US.
Berkshire paid $4 billion for an 80 per cent stake.
According to Bloomberg, this week's trip was arranged by Eitan Wertheimer, Iscar's president, and Angelo Moratti, of Saras, a family-run energy company in Italy.
"Many families go through certain stages of strategic decision-making and they need to know their options. From Warren, you get much more than money. You're part of something that's unque," Mr Wertheimer told the news agency.
Mr Buffett owns a third of Berkshire.
He has been pursuing acquisitions in the expectation that the dollar will fall.
"The US is going to continue to follow policies that make the dollar weaker," he told this year's annual meeting.Share Investor Business News- Get more business news
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