Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said Monday that the Federal Trade Commission ended a review of its proposed $26.3 billion acquisition of railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., moving the deal a step closer to completion.
Berkshire and BNSF said they continue to expect the deal to close in the first quarter of next year.
In early November, Berkshire agreed to pay $100 per share in cash and stock for the 77.4 percent of BNSF shares that it didn't already own. The purchase would be the largest ever for Buffett's holding company, which is based in Omaha.
Burlington Northern owns BNSF Railway Co., which operates 32,000 miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. It is a major hauler of grain, coal and consumer products.
Berkshire built its stake in Burlington Northern, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, over the past two years before announcing plans to buy the entire company.
Berkshire has scheduled a special meeting in Omaha on Jan. 20 where shareholders will be asked to approve a 50-for-1 split of Berkshire's Class B stock to complete the BNSF deal.
Burlington Northern shares rose 17 cents to $98.83 in afternoon trading. Berkshire's Class B shares rose $12 to $3,332.
On the Net:
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.: http://www.bnsf.com