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Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway drops USD 10 billion bomb into Anadarko battle

Warren Buffett's intervention in Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s USD 37 billion unsolicited bid for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. may tip the scales in the oil industry's biggest bidding war in decades.

Photo: /ritzau/AP/Nati Harnik

In a stunning escalation of the two-week-old contest for oil company Anadarko, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. on Tuesday disclosed plans to inject USD 10 billion into Occidental in exchange for preferred stock and warrants. The bombshell landed in the midst of Anadarko board deliberations about whether Occidental's offer is superior to a lower but already agreed-to deal with Chevron Corp.

The arrangement was announced just two days after Occidental's corporate jet flew to Buffett's hometown of Omaha. It is contingent on the deal for Anadarko closing and would be his biggest investment in more than three years aside from Apple Inc. It also answers the question about what to do with a swelling cash pile just ahead of Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting this weekend.

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