When Warren Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in the mid-1960s, it was a struggling textile manufacturer. After trying for years to revive its fortunes, he shuttered the mills and turned his focus to other industries.
Today, Berkshire is one of the most-valuable companies in the world because of those efforts. It has interests in insurance, utilities, transportation, retail and — increasingly — manufacturing.

The billionaire has been beefing up the segment of his business that makes everything from T-shirts to bricks. In January, he completed a $32.7 billion takeover of Precision Castparts Corp., a supplier to the aerospace and energy industries. And a month later he closed on the acquisition of battery maker Duracell for more than $2 billion.The deals are part of a broader evolution at Berkshire, which will be on full display as shareholders gather this weekend for the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. In his earlier years running the company, Buffett focused on investing in stocks by using funds held at insurance units. More recently, he’s sought to diversify by buying whole businesses, several of which will showcase their wares in an exposition hall adjacent to the meeting.

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