Formerly a textile company, it was taken over by Warren Buffett in the 1960s, but its textile venture did not succeed.
However, many of the investments Buffett made were spectacularly successful, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Although Buffett retains a controlling stake in the company, it has thousands of shareholders, and these investors often are very interested and involved in the running of the business. Berkshire Hathaway holds yearly meetings that are heavily attended by these investors, many of them families.
Berkshire Hathaway is notable in that it never allows its shares to split. Each share is thus worth tens of thousands of dollars.