CNN has reported that Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, will buy railroad corporation Burlington Northern Sante Fe ("BNSF") for $44 billion.
The deal, which would rank as the largest acquisition in Berkshire Hathaway’s history, would also include $10 billion of Burlington Northern debt.
Matthew Rose, Burlington Northern’s chairman and CEO, said the sale of the Fort Worth, Texas-based firm was a "strategic fit" for both the company’s customers and employees, during a conference call with investors Tuesday.
No management changes are expected at Burlington Northern as a result of the deal, which is expected to close sometime in early 2010.
Burlington Northern has been under scrutiny recently since a Minnesota Court found that BNSF had attempted to cover up its role in four railroad crossing deaths:
The Court found that BNSF destroyed some evidence, fabricated other evidence, interfered with the investigation and purposefully lied and advanced misleading facts in order to conceal the truth.
The railroad’s conduct in destorying evidence and attempting to cover up its role in killing these four young people underscores the dangers of railroad crossing accidents. In the last decade, there have been more than 30,000 railroad crossing accidents that killed more than 3600 people. Half of these collisions occurred at train crossings with active warning devices (including lights, crossing gates or bells). However, as BNSF’s conduct shows, how many of these devices were working properly? How many other malfunctions have been covered up by BNSF or other railroad companies?
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.