Wesfarmers Breaks Buffett Playbook With $20 Billion Spinoff: Gadfly
In its pomp, Australia's Wesfarmers liked to think of itself as a sort of antipodean Berkshire Hathaway: buying undervalued, cash-producing businesses and letting skilled managers run them with clear targets to generate strong returns on invested capital.
So much for that. While Warren Buffett hardly ever bids farewell to a business, Wesfarmers on Friday unveiled plans to spin off its Coles supermarket chain in a move that would create a $20 billion company and reverse one of the country's biggest-ever takeover deals.
While Managing Director Rob Scott told reporters the move was part of his pitch for the top job he assumed in November, to outsiders it came out of the blue.
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