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Buffett's splashing out on his insurance | It's hard to be a homebuyer in the UK |

Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for March 22nd in 3:10 minutes.

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Today's big stories

  1. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is buying insurance firm Alleghany for nearly $12 billion
  2. Our analysts reckon there's one way crypto could actually benefit from rising energy prices – Read Now
  3. The average UK house price hit a record high this month

Fully Covered

Fully Covered

What’s Going On Here?

Warren Buffett’s been comparing the markets: his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway announced on Monday that it’s agreed to buy insurance company Alleghany for $11.6 billion.

What Does This Mean?

Buffett’s been searching for Berkshire Hathaway’s next big investment for a while now, and said just last month that he was having a hard time finding it. But it looks like perseverance paid off: Berkshire announced on Monday that it’s agreed to buy fellow conglomerate Alleghany – whose core business is property and casualty insurance – for $11.6 billion in cash, 29% more than the company was worth on average over the past 30 days.

The deal – Berkshire’s biggest since 2016 – isn’t its first move into insurance. The company owns plenty of firms – like Geico, one of America’s biggest car insurers – in the space, and the industry’s already played a big role in growing Berkshire into the conglomerate it is today, boasting a market value of more than $750 billion.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: Talk about cash to splash.
$11.6 billion sure sounds like a ludicrous amount of money, but it counts for less than 10% of Berkshire’s nearly $150 billion in cash. So even after making one of its five biggest deals ever and pledging to keep $30 billion in cash last month, Berkshire still has about $100 billion left that it could splash on even bigger deals in the future.

Zooming out: Software’s looking good.
Berkshire isn’t the only one making deals this week: private equity (PE) firm Thoma Bravo announced it’s buying Anaplan – a company that provides forecasting software to businesses – for $10.7 billion. The deal’s the latest in a bunch of PE takeovers in the software sector, including that of cyber security company McAfee last year. Some reckon it could be a sign that market volatility and higher costs of borrowing haven’t put firms off the industry, so more deals could be on their way this year.

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Analyst Take

Bitcoin Miners Aren’t Phased By These Soaring Energy Prices

Bitcoin Miners Aren’t Phased By These Soaring Energy Prices

By Jonathan Hobbs, Analyst

What’s Going On Here?

It’s no secret that bitcoin mining uses a lot of electricity.

And with energy costs soaring, you might expect more miners to unplug from the blockchain and direct their resources elsewhere.

But Jon reckons the industry can take rising energy costs in stride, and shake off bitcoin’s bad environmental rap at the same time.

So that’s today’s Insight: how rising energy prices could actually be good for your long-term bitcoin investment.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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See important disclosures here.

City Break-Up

City Break-Up

What’s Going On Here?

Data out on Monday showed that the average UK house price hit a record high this month, but Brits will pay anything to escape life in the capital.

What Does This Mean?

It’s a great time to be a Brit with a house to sell: there aren’t many on the market, and hopeful homebuyers – backlogged after holding off during the pandemic – have been keen to lock in mortgage deals before interest rates rise higher. In fact, Rightmove reported that there were over twice as many buyers than sellers this month, the biggest mismatch ever recorded by the UK housing company (tweet this). Buyers had to act fast amid all that competition: an unprecedented 22% of homes that were put up for sale were snapped up within a week. And they had to pay more too: the average house price in the UK rose by 1.7% this month from last, the biggest March increase in 18 years. That brings the yearly increase up to 10.4%, and means the UK’s average house price is now nearly £355,000 ($470,000) – the highest on record.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: Escape to the country.
London was the only region to see a drop in house prices this month. Once the breeding ground for stressed-out commuters, plenty of the city’s dwellers have left to work remotely from pastures new. Specifically greener, quieter pastures: Brits are after bigger houses with room for offices, and Rightmove says the scenic Cotswolds and peaceful Suffolk have been some of the new go-to spots for homebuyers recently.

The bigger picture: It won’t last forever.
Rightmove reckons buyers will outnumber sellers for a while still, but thinks the market could slow down in the second half of the year. After all, soaring inflation and rising interest rates – which are set to push up mortgage payments – will probably put potential homebuyers off, and might make it impossible for them to buy even if they wanted to.

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💬 Quote of the day

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin (an American polymath)
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SPONSORED BY TRADESTATION

Inflation isn’t the only problem for businesses today

Companies around the world are paying through the nose for oil and gas.

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Lucky for you, TradeStation has everything you need to work that out: the trading platform is packed full of all the tools, analytics, and real-time data you need to assess the markets.

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🎉 Upcoming events

🚀 How To Invest In The Metaverse: 1pm UK time, March 22nd
👟 How To Dip A Toe Into Sneaker Investing: 5pm UK time, March 22nd
🍔 Investing In Francises: 6pm UK time, March 24th
☔️ Invest Smarter By Understanding The Market Seasons: 4pm UK time, March 25th
👑 How To Invest In Tokenized Gold: 1pm UK time, March 28th
☘️ How To Pick The Best ESG Stocks: 6pm UK time, March 28th
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💰 How Much Do Your Trades Really Cost?: 5pm UK time, March 31st
🛢 What Investors Need To Know About Russian Oil: 6pm UK time, March 31st
👀 The Stock Market Debuts To Watch In 2022: 6pm UK time, April 4th
🏠 Your Guide To Passive Real Estate Investing: 5pm UK time, April 12th

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