Berkshire B 50-1 Stock Split

Some links below are from our sponsors. Here’s how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

default sharing image
Warren Buffett recently announced that the Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway are going through a 50 to 1 stock split, which is the first time he has split Berkshire stock – something he has claimed for years he wouldn’t do. Buffett has stated multiple times that he prefers not to split stocks because the…

Warren Buffett recently announced that the Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway are going through a 50 to 1 stock split, which is the first time he has split Berkshire stock – something he has claimed for years he wouldn’t do.

berkshire hathaway logoBuffett has stated multiple times that he prefers not to split stocks because the higher prices make it less likely that day traders will cause major price fluctuations. He changed his mind this week though, after Berkshire’s acquisition railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe for a mix of cash and stock.

Splitting the stock was a byproduct of the deal and was done for tax reasons.

What is a Stock Split, Exactly?

A stock split is just what it sounds like – the stock is split into multiple parts. It actually doesn’t change the overall value of the stock, just the number of shares.

For example, if you have a $100 stock and the company does a 2 to 1 stock split, then the original share is now two shares valued at $50 each, which still equals $100.

Berkshire B shares price at the time of the stock splitBRK.B stock was listed at $3,425 (Friday’s closing price) being split into 50 shares, valued at $68.50 each. (As an interesting note, the Class A share of Berkshire traded for over $100,000 at the time the Berkshire B shares split).

The split didn’t change the overall value of the shares. But it did make it much easier for the average investor to purchase shares of the Berkshire B stock, as not everyone can easily come up with $3,400 to purchase one share. The resulting Berkshire B share price of less than $100 makes it easier for the average investor to purchase shares.*

Note: These were the prices at the time of the split, which occurred in November, 2009.

*Partial share investing. Some online brokers, including Ally Invest and a few others, offer investors the opportunity to purchase partial shares of stock, so in the case of BRKB, one could have already been making purchases of partial shares before the stock split. However, not all brokerages offer this.

Getting Started Investing

If you’re considering investing, but you don’t know where to start, and you’re worried about all of the decisions. Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of ways that you can start an investment portfolio, even if you no experience in the investment world.

Thanks to different sites and programs available, it’s never been easier to invest your money.

There are sites like Betterment that will handle all of the investing for you. Betterment has robo-advisors that will invest your money based on your financial goals. As you make money, Betterment will continue to invest the money that you earn and they will change your investment diversity as you get closer to your goals.

Investing is one of the best ways to ensure that your financial future is secure. I know that starting an investment portfolio can be a scary task. Most people don’t understand all of the terms and jargon but don’t let that stop you from investing your hard earned money.

If you have any questions about investing or half shares, please feel free to continue poking around my site or contact me. I would love to answer those questions for you and ensure that you have all of the information that you need.

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Posted In:

About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

Reader Interactions


    Leave A Comment:


    About the comments on this site:

    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Jeff Rose says

    I had to make a contribution to a Sep IRA for tax deductions last year, and had enough to buy one share of BRK.b. I know it will be some time to see the growth, but it would be neat to have 50 shares now instead of the one. Now I just need to work on buying the A share. 🙂

  2. Hank says

    Like when Buffett added the B Class shares to start with, now Berkshire is a little less prestigious and unique. Some things just shouldn’t be open to everyone and Berkshire Hathaway shares are one of them. Buffett should have stayed true to his convictions and not split the stock price.

  3. Evan says

    I am curious what is going to happen to BRK when their spokesman, the Oracle, eventually passes away. I know he has a successor but there is something to be said when he gets on CNBC and explains his decisions.

  4. Writers Coin says

    As a fellow B shareholder, I’m also shocked that he did this after saying for years how much he was against a split. But now more people will have access to the shares and it’ll be interesting to see if more people moving into it will cause any movement.

    • Ryan says

      According to a CNN article I read it was so smaller shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe wouldn’t take as much of a hit when they receive the Berkshire stock. To be honest, I’m not sure how that part of the deal works. The article also references a video interview with Buffett, which I haven’t had time to watch.

      But I think it’s interesting that BRK.B is splitting after Buffett has been opposed to it for so long.

  5. fredct says

    Ah, that makes sense.

    If you’re involved in a deal like that, anything that can’t be made even through the deal is just cashed out.

    i.e. if the company is doing a 10 shares for 1 share purchase, and you have 25 shares, you’ll get 2 of the new company and the other 5 shares you get cash for. This can lead to capital gains that you have to recognize and can also be a major PITA to keep track of going forward.

    Still, with BNI trading at almost $100, I’m surprised they split BRK.B as low as they did.

  6. Jim says

    This will make shares more trdble and my bet is you will see $100 shares shortly after the split. I am a buyer in antcipation of the split

    • fredct says


      Stock splits don’t change the value of a company. It decreases the earnings by the same amount of the split per share, so each share is indeed worth 1/x the amount of the old shares.

      Sometimes there is a small irrational jump after a split due to increased interest, but the magnitude you’re suggesting would be ridiculous.

      It’s especially unlikely due to the A/B structure of BRK shares. Any A share can be converted to 30 B shares (to be 1500) upon request, so it provides a convenient method for arbitrage. So if the B shares jumped irrationally, all the A share holders would convert their shares to make the free bucks, flooding the market with B-shares and driving the price down.

      So unless you expect the irrational behavior to be *so* strong that it pushes the value of A shares to $150K+, I wouldn’t bet on B-shares reaching $100.

  7. matthew says

    i bought 1 share of Berkshire Hathaway – B share today. There will be a stock split 50:1. So would i get 50 share by tommorrow for the one share i bought today? i appreciate if somebody answers

  8. fredct says

    Yes, but each share will be worth 1/50th as much. Its like taking your piece of pizza and cutting it into 50 tiny slices. You still have the same amount of pizza, just in more pieces.

  9. Guy says

    Hi, I have been reading your very interesting article, helped me alot
    I was wondering (because I don’t really understand stocks that well)
    How should I calculate the stock now –
    If I’m holding a brk-b stock and now let’s say it worth
    100$ and it split to 50 as I understood so it will actually
    Be worth 5000$?
    Thank you for any kind of help! 🙂

    • Ryan Guina says

      Guy, a couple years ago BRK-B was worth few thousand dollars per share, then it split to it’s current levels. The stock at its current listed price is correct. Here is an example of how it would look if the stock split again: if the stock is now at $100 and did a 50 to 1 split, you would then have 50 shares valued at $2 each.

  10. Guy says

    Ohh ok – I’m sorry for thesse “beginner” questions
    It’s just this stock has been bought for me at the year of 1999.
    And I only found out I have this today, I really have
    No connection to the stock market.
    Than you so much !
    If I understood you correct the stock as it
    Says today value is: 103 so the correct math
    To calculate on how much I can get for it will be
    103 * 50? Or am I completely not getting it?

    Again thank you SO much for any kind of respond!

Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not professional financial advice. References to third party products, rates, and offers may change without notice. Please visit the referenced site for current information. We may receive compensation through affiliate or advertising relationships from products mentioned on this site. However, we do not accept compensation for positive reviews; all reviews on this site represent the opinions of the author. Privacy Policy

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.