Warren Buffett defends structure of $23B Heinz deal

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett wears a name tag reading: "Crazy Warren #1 Salesman", as he sells jewels at the Borsheims jewelry store, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 5, 2013. The Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting was being held this weekend in Omaha. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik

OMAHA, Nebraska Investor Warren Buffett says he expects Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) to own a stake in ketchup-maker H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) forever, and he doesn't see a problem in taking a partner -- the Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital -- in the $23.3 billion deal.

Buffett said in an interview on CNBC on Monday that he doesn't consider 3G a traditional private equity firm because it is investing a significant amount of its own money and it runs businesses. Some people had questioned whether the deal that will give Berkshire a 50 percent stake in Heinz represented a change in investment style for Buffett's conglomerate.

Generally Berkshire buys entire companies outright and allows them to continue operating largely unchanged.

Buffett says he hopes Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s stake in Heinz will grow over time.