Buffett’s company abandons $1.3B natural gas pipeline deal

FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks during a game of bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. Buffett is encouraging investors to maintain their faith in America’s economy and the businesses his Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns. In a letter to his shareholders Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, Buffett hardly mentioned the coronavirus that ravaged many businesses last year, saying American business will thrive over time despite the pandemic. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

OMAHA, Neb. — Warren Buffett’s company is abandoning its purchase of a natural gas pipeline from Dominion Energy because of uncertainty about whether the deal could get regulatory approval.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will receive a $1.3 billion refund on the proposed purchase of Questar Pipelines that was also supposed to include $430 million of Dominion’s debt when it was announced a year ago. The Richmond, Virginia-based energy company said it still plans to sell Questar and will work to find another buyer by the end of the year. Dominion also said the decision won’t affect its financial outlook.

Separate from the Questar pipeline deal, Berkshire did buy $2.7 billion worth of Dominion’s natural gas transmission and storage assets last year, which included more than 5,500 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines and about 775 billion cubic feed of gas storage facilities. Berkshire also took on $5.3 billion of Dominion debt as part of that transaction.

The decision to forego the Questar pipeline purchase reduces the value of one of Berkshire’s biggest deals from last year. In recent years, Berkshire has struggled to find sizeable acquisitions to make use of its growing $145.4 billion cash pile, so it has invested roughly $38 billion in its own stock since the start of 2020.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire conglomerate owns more than 90 companies including several major utilities, BNSF railroad, large insurance companies including Geico and an assortment of retail and manufacturing companies. Berkshire also holds sizeable stock investments in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola and other companies.