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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Warren Buffett doesn't have much use for unicorns, instead building his Berkshire Hathaway empire by hunting for the sort of asset-heavy megadeals that he calls "elephants."

Driving the news: Berkshire hasn't fired a shot from its elephant gun in quite some time. Not even last spring, when many thought it would become the bailout partner of first resort, much like the role it played in 2008.

  • Yes, Berkshire did pay $10 billion for Dominion Energy's gas transmission and storage business last July, but that's still a small deal by its standards.
  • It reports having over $145 billion in cash at the end of March.

What happened: Buffett over the weekend said that his spring 2020 inaction was partially due to rapid and robust government intervention — from both the Fed and Congress — and his own caution over how the pandemic would play out.

  • He also noted worry that Berkshire's presence could have caused government to delay aid to specific companies or sectors, which is why he sold out of airlines at a loss.
  • Buffett and Charlie Munger also cited the influence of SPACs. That one didn't ring terribly true, since Berkshire should be playing in a bigger league than the vast majority of SPAC mergers.

The bottom line: Buffett has said the elephant deals make his "heart beat faster." But he's still sitting on stable, as the broader merger market's EKG machine is spiking.

Go deeper

Warren Buffett denounces SPACs and Robinhood at Berkshire Hathaway meeting

Warren Buffett during a 2017 event in New York City. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called SPACs a "killer" and criticized stock-trading app Robinhood for encouraging gambling during Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Los Angeles Saturday.

Why it matters: The criticism by Buffet comes as SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, and Robinhood have been facing scrutiny from regulators after soaring in popularity over the past year.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."

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