John Kerry May Have Made $670,000 on Buffett’s Heinz Deal

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 02:35 PM

By Glenn J. Kalinoski

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The news that billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and investment firm 3G Capital are buying ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co. led to an interesting question for a member of President Barack Obama’s administration.

How much will Secretary of State John Kerry, along with his wife and Heinz ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry, make on the deal.

Business Insider ran the numbers and came up with $671,520.

According to Open Secrets, then-Senator Kerry last year provided his 2011 assets, including a valuation of approximately $3 million worth of H.J. Heinz Co. Business Insider used Yahoo! Finance data to show that from Dec. 30, 2011, through Feb. 13, 2013, the stock rose 11.92 percent, placing the valuation of the stake at $3,357,603 at yesterday’s close.

With the stock today up about 20 percent, Business Insider pegged the increase at $671,520, putting the asset valuation of the Heinz stake at $4,029,123.

Business Insider also reported it’s unclear what the actual asset valuation of the H.J. Heinz stake is at this time or if Kerry bought or sold shares since 2011.

The Boston Globe reported in January that the Kerrys agreed to divest investments to avoid any potential conflicts of interest in John Kerry’s new job. The report contained no mention of the Kerrys divesting Heinz.

Last year, Heinz says it had sales of $11.6 billion, with ketchup and sauces accounting for just under half of that. Given the saturated North American market, the company has increasingly looked overseas for growth. In 2010, the company bought Foodstar, which makes Master brand soy sauce and fermented bean curd in China. Heinz expects emerging markets to account for a quarter of the company's sales.

H.J. Heinz says it’s the largest deal ever in the food industry. The company, based in Pittsburgh, also makes Classico spaghetti sauces, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen meals. Including debt assumption, Heinz valued the transaction at $28 billion.

All members of the House, Senate, executive branch and judicial branch must reveal assets belonging to their spouse and/or dependent children, according to Open Secrets.

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