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SEC Denies Berkshire's Request for Secrecy

August 19, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Warren E. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has been denied permission by the Securities and Exchange Commission to keep a stock holding secret.

The billionaire, who files such requests to prevent copycat investing, sought one year of confidential treatment for a single security Berkshire held in the fourth quarter of 2003 and the first quarter of 2004. In an order Tuesday, the SEC denied requests for both quarters without identifying the security.

The rejection means Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway may have to file amended disclosure information for both quarters.

The SEC said the company failed to show how making the holding public would hurt its competitive position, a requirement for granting confidentiality.

"Berkshire also does not provide any facts and analysis pertaining to the particular security at issue to demonstrate that disclosure of its position in that security would likely cause substantial harm to Berkshire's competitive position," the SEC said in the order.

Berkshire Chief Financial Officer Marc Hamburg said in an interview that he had not received or been informed of the SEC letter. He declined to identify the security or to say whether Berkshire would appeal the SEC's order.

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