He is... utilizing the two HUGE strengths of Berkshire Hathaway (a relentless flow of cash coming into the Berkshire HQ that can be used when things are cheap and the other companies are desperate for cash) and the "Halo Effect" of Mr. Buffett's reputation to secure a good return... and WARRANTS. Those warrants are gong to enable Berkshire to emerge from all of these deals with large ownership of many financial companies. Insurance, Banking, Rail/transport (they have significant pipelines, trucking, etc), homebuilding (with Clayton, they are, I believe, the largest homebuilder), specialty chemicals, real estate services... this company's empire continues to expand and grow... more and more income streams flowing into the center for Mr. Buffett to continue to paint his masterpiece...:)
I've been an owner of Berkshire B stocks since the 50:1 split in 2010. I have never regretted it and today received the annual report which states that both the A and B shares returned 14.4% for 2012. Owning Berkshire stock is a " no Brainer". Just imagine, receiving 9.3 million shares of Goldman for FREE. To all the Berkshire longs on this board: " Invest and prosper"
I have been an owner in BRK B for a few years too, and am very happy with how the company continues to do.
It is worth noting, and perhaps this is a technical point, the 9.3 million shares were free in a cash basis, but is not truly 'free'. The warrants that Berkshire could have exercised with 5 billion dollars would have given Berkshire about 43.5 million shares... that is about 9% of a premier investment bank that is a strong long term performer.
Personally, I consider this to be a pretty fair deal, but I am not sure that we would not have been better off getting so much ownership in GS (adding it to the "Big 4" outside investors).
One thing I completely agree with you is that this is an amazing long term winner with very few weaknesses..