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Why Warren Buffett believes in Kraft

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Warren Buffett is famous for telling Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK-A , quote ) acquisitions, "keep doing what you have been doing." Good management is critical to his evaluation of companies, which is why his long tenure as Kraft's ( KFT , quote ) largest shareholder speaks well of it.

Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld is the linchpin of Kraft's current management. Ranked the world's #1 businesswoman by the Financial Times in 2011, Rosenfeld has done much to lead Kraft Inc to a larger presence in emerging markets.

The acquisition of British chocolate maker Cadbury in 2010 was one such example. Among other things, this is leading to a substantial effort by Kraft in India , where revenues have risen 40% .

(Berkshire Hathaway actually opposed the Cadbury acquisition , suggesting that even the Sage of Omaha has his blind spots.)

The most significant move by Rosenfeld to better position Kraft for operations abroad has been the splitting of the company into two units: a North American grocery unit and a global snack unit. About this, Rosenfeld observed that, "We are talking about two companies with sizable scale in their respective markets."

"The North American grocery business is a $16bn business with a set of iconic brands, more than 80% of which have the number one market position in their respective categories. The global snacks business is a $32 billion behemoth, with the number one position in three of our four categories and a sizeable footprint in key markets, particularly in developing markets."

Investors looking for a broad-based exposure to American consumer giants venturing abroad may be interested in the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund ( XLP , quote ). XLP devotes 5.17% of its holdings to Kraft, with larger investments in global businesses like Proctor & Gamble ( PG , quote ) and Walmart ( WMT , quote ).

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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