Business briefs: Berkshire Hathaway sees $3.6 billion in net income

Berkshire Hathaway says it benefited from an improving economy and investment gains related to its acquisition of BNSF railroad in the first quarter as it rebounded from last year’s loss to deliver $3.6 billion in net income. Berkshire said Friday it earned $2,272 per Class A share during the quarter. That’s after last year’s loss of $1.5 billion, or $990 per share, as it wrote down the value of its ConocoPhillips investment. Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett discussed the highlights of Berkshire Hathaway’s quarterly earnings at last Saturday’s shareholders’ meeting but didn’t release detailed information about the quarter until Friday. The four analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Berkshire to report earnings per share of $1,101.83.

Nokia expands Apple patent suit

Finnish cellphone maker Nokia Corp. said Friday that it has extended its patent-infringement claims against Apple Inc. to include the new iPad. The latest complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wis., follows other lawsuits by Nokia claiming that a broad swath of Apple products violate Nokia patents. Nokia says the disputed technologies help reduce the size and cost of electronic gadgets. Lawsuits over patent rights are common in the technology industry.

Borders offering low price reader

Borders Group Inc. has begun taking orders for the Kobo electronic book reader and pushing it at a lower price than competing devices. Borders also said Friday that its e-bookstore and software will be available beginning in June. The Kobo e-reader device will retail for $149.99 and come preloaded with 100 “classic” books, the bookseller said. Friday. Borders’ e-bookstore and e-reader software will run on Kobo technology. It will run on the Kobo device as well as most smartphones, personal computers and Apple’s iPad.

Post turns profit as print losses slow

The Washington Post Co., the parent company for The Herald, returned a profit in the first quarter as declines in print advertising slowed and the company’s cable TV and education businesses continued to grow. The Post Co. had net income of $45.4 million, or $4.91 per share, in the first three months of the year. That reversed a loss in the same period last year of $19.2 million, or $2.04 per share, brought on by big one-time expenses. Revenue grew 11 percent to $1.17 billion. With its namesake newspaper struggling, the Post Co. has been relying on its TV and Kaplan education businesses for growth. Now it plans to reduce its traditional role as a publisher even further. It announced Wednesday that Newsweek magazine, which it has owned since 1961, is up for sale. The Washington Post Co. has pared its magazine losses sharply with deep cost-cutting and by selling Budget Travel. The company’s magazine group, which now just has Newsweek, lost $2 million in the latest quarter after losing more than $20 million a year ago.

From Herald news services