UPDATE 1-Buffett says willing to partner with 3G again on 'very large' deals
(Adds investor comments on acquisition targets; bylines)
By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan
May 3 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday said Berkshire Hathaway Inc would team up again with 3G Capital on more transactions, perhaps very large ones, despite criticism of the Brazilian investment firm's decision to cut thousands of jobs at HJ Heinz & Co.
"I think 3G does a magnificent job of running businesses," Buffett said at Berkshire's annual meeting. "We're very likely to partner with them, perhaps on some things that are very large."
Berkshire had nearly $49 billion of cash as of March 31 and doesn't pay a dividend, leaving Buffett and his deputies to look for capital-spending opportunities and takeovers.
Smead Capital CEO Bill Smead told Reuters Insider that Berkshire may be eyeing "a huge acquisition" potentially worth around $58 billion, after Buffett's comments regarding 3G Capital.
"He's built up a huge pile of cash - I think $28 billion in excess of what they need," Smead said. "And Charlie (vice chairman Charles Munger) said, 'Well, we can borrow $30 billion on top of that', that's $58 billion. That would be a huge acquisition. Now, that might cause a few people that have companies that size to call them. Remember, they don't do hostile deals. So he opened up some realms today that were new in that respect."
Mario Gabelli, chairman and chief executive officer of Gamco Investors Inc, said Buffett should consider acquiring General Mills, Inc.
"In (Buffett's) annual report, he gives you a couple of dots. One of the dots was very fundamental. He said 'Look, I learned that the model that I used on Heinz could be duplicated'," Gabelli said. Continuación...