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Buffett Bet That Infuriated Icahn Is Hit Hard by Oil Crash

  • Occidental Petroleum stock has plunged about 60% in March
  • Berkshire’s $10 billion investment pays 8% annual dividend
Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

Photographer: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg
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It had all the trappings of a classic Warren Buffett deal. There were the preferred shares created just for him, the warrants giving him an option to buy more common stock and a hefty dividend -- 8%, which came to a cool $800 million a year on the $10 billion he plunked down.

On their face, the terms were so favorable for Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. -- and so onerous for the company, the oil driller Occidental Petroleum Corp. -- that fellow billionaire investor Carl Icahn seethed with indignation. It was, he wrote, “like taking candy from a baby.”