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Brasil Foods Hits Record on Report Buffett Buys Stock

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- BRF Brasil Foods SA rose to its highest ever in Sao Paulo trading amid a news report that Billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. started buying shares in the Brazilian foodmaker.

Brasil Foods, the world’s largest poultry exporter, climbed 94 centavos, or 3.3 percent, to settle at 29.65 reais at 3:08 p.m. New York time. Earlier, it touched 29.98 reais, the highest since the company formerly known as Perdigao SA began trading in 1997. Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index rose 0.6 percent.

Buffett started buying shares after fund managers at his company visited Brasil Foods units, Sao Paulo-based newspaper Valor Economico reported today, citing unidentified investors who spoke to the company’s executives.

“The speculation is that Buffett is seeking to have 5 percent of the company,” Fausto Gouveia, who helps manage 270 million reais in stocks at Legan Administracao de Recursos, said today in a telephone interview from Sao Paulo. “Whoever is short on this stock is buying shares now.”

Buffett didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment to his assistant, Carrie Kizer. A spokeswoman for Brasil Foods, who can’t be named because of company policy, declined to comment.

Berkshire, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is the biggest shareholder of Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., and sold shares of Bank of America Corp. and Nike Inc. at the end of 2010, according to a regulatory filing Feb. 14. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman, oversees more than 70 operating units and an investment portfolio.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lucia Kassai in Sao Paulo at lkassai@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net.

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