Berkshire Hathaway Buys Ben Bridge Jeweler

May 22, 2000

Berkshire Hathaway Buys Ben Bridge Jeweler

The 63-store Seattle-based Ben Bridge Jeweler will become a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Ed Bridge and Jon Bridge, co-CEOs of the retailer, announced the decision to associates yesterday.

The companies expect the merger to be completed in 45-60 days. Terms are not yet disclosed. The company will continue to be managed by the Bridge family.

"Our success has and always will be our people," says Jon Bridge. "By entering into this alliance, we will continue the tradition of our grandfather and fathers in overseeing the management as well as the long-range planning of the company. This arrangement will provide for the smooth transition from this generation to the next – a concern that has been at the center of this action."

In a written statement, Buffett added: "I can't tell you how pleased we are to enter into this association with Ben Bridge Jeweler. Run by an outstanding management team, Ben Bridge will be a great addition to the Berkshire family."

Berkshire Hathaway owns a diverse group of businesses, primarily in property and casualty insurance firms. Berkshire Hathaway also owns Borsheim's, a large retail jeweler in Omaha, NE, and Helzberg's Diamond Shops Inc., North Kansas City, MO.

Ben Bridge Jeweler was founded in 1912 by Samuel Silverman, a watchmaker in downtown Seattle, who sold the business to son-in-law Ben Bridge. Ben Bridge managed the operation for 25 years before turning over the business to sons Herb and Bob. Including a new store in Portland, OR, the company operates 63 stores, largely in the western U.S.

- by Michael Thompson