Will Warren Buffet buy UPS?

Following a selloff, UPS stock appears appealing as it focuses on reducing expenses and enhancing earnings. Investors can benefit from a 4.4% dividend yield

Key Takeaways

  1. Resilience: UPS navigated a tough 2023, with a 9% revenue drop and a 32% fall in earnings, but remains a crucial player in global logistics.

  2. Strategic Recovery: Undertook cost-cutting and efficiency enhancements, aiming for $1 billion in annual savings and increased automation.

  3. Labor Agreement Success: Negotiated a balanced deal with the Teamsters, ensuring manageable labor costs while embracing technology for operational efficiency.

  4. Visionary Leadership: CEO Carol Tome's strategic pivot towards operational efficiency and resilience aligns UPS with potential investment by Berkshire Hathaway.

  5. Investment Appeal: UPS's strong fundamentals, strategic initiatives, and role in global commerce make it an attractive candidate for Warren Buffett's investment criteria.

A Potential Beacon for Berkshire Hathaway

In the vast and intricate landscape of global commerce, United Parcel Service (UPS) stands as a colossus in the package delivery sector. Each day, this giant orchestrates the delivery of an average of 16 million packages, a testament to its pivotal role in the veins of international trade and logistics. Yet, even the mightiest of entities can face tribulations. The year 2023 marked a period of significant challenge for UPS, characterized by a downturn that saw its robust performance waver. However, it is precisely this juxtaposition of strength and vulnerability that renders UPS a particularly attractive prospect for potential investors like Warren Buffett. Known for his penchant for "elephant-size" acquisitions, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway seeks out companies not just for their current value but for their potential to flourish over the long term. Despite its recent hurdles, UPS’s foundational strengths - its vast network, market leadership, and the essential nature of its services - shine brightly, making it a beacon for investment giants like Berkshire Hathaway.

Financial Resilience

The fiscal narrative of UPS in 2023 reads like a storm weathered—a testament to resilience amid adversity. The company witnessed a 9% decline in revenue, tumbling to $91 billion, and a sharper 32% fall in adjusted earnings to $8.78 a share. At the heart of these challenges were the unexpectedly profound impacts of labor negotiations with the Teamsters, which rattled investor confidence and shifted business volumes. Yet, in the face of these daunting challenges, UPS did not falter. Instead, it embarked on a strategic pivot aimed at rebounding from the disappointing guidance for 2024. Through proactive measures focused on cost-cutting and profit-boosting, UPS demonstrated a clear commitment to not just survive but thrive. This unwavering determination to turn the tide speaks volumes about UPS's financial resilience, a quality that endears it to investors seeking stability and growth potential amidst volatility.

Future Profits

Recognizing the imperative to adapt and evolve, UPS has launched into a series of strategic initiatives aimed at refining its operational efficiency and financial health. Central to these efforts is an ambitious cost-cutting program, targeting a staggering $1 billion in annual savings. This bold strategy involves reducing management ranks by 12,000, a move indicative of UPS’s resolve to streamline its operations and enhance profitability. Moreover, the company is doubling down on increasing automation across its processes, further evidencing its commitment to innovation and efficiency. These measures are not merely reactionary but are part of a comprehensive plan to bolster margins and elevate volumes, thereby mitigating higher expenses. UPS’s proactive stance on navigating economic pressures exemplifies a forward-thinking approach that ensures its operations are not just sustainable but poised for growth. In doing so, UPS reinforces its appeal to investors who value not just immediate gains but long-term strategic vision and financial prudence.

Cost Discipline

In navigating the complexities of labor management, UPS has demonstrated an exemplary balance through its recent labor agreement with the Teamsters. This pivotal accord, struck after intense negotiations, reflects UPS's adeptness at reconciling workforce demands with the imperative of maintaining operational agility. The agreement brought about an immediate pay increase of $2.75 an hour for employees, with a promise of a total increase of $7.50 an hour over the five-year term. While some observers viewed the contract as a win for a more assertive labor movement, it is important to recognize the strategic foresight embedded within. UPS ensured that the financial repercussions of this deal remain manageable, with an average annual wage cost increase pegged at 3.5% over five years. Crucially, the contract does not impede UPS's ongoing push towards technology and automation, allowing the company to continue its pursuit of efficiency and cost control. This delicate balancing act not only attests to UPS's skill in labor negotiations but also positions it for sustainable growth by keeping labor costs in check while embracing future-ready operational enhancements.

Good Management

At the helm of UPS's strategic direction is CEO Carol Tome, whose leadership since 2020 has been nothing short of transformative. Tome, who transitioned to UPS after a notable tenure at Home Depot, brought with her a fresh perspective that pivoted the company's strategy from "better not bigger." Under her guidance, UPS has embarked on a journey to not just expand its services but enhance operational efficiency and financial robustness. This shift is evidenced by the company's proactive measures like dividend increases and significant stock buybacks, signaling a deep-seated confidence in UPS's financial trajectory. Tome's leadership philosophy centers around investing in the company's core strengths while steering through market challenges with agility and foresight. Her focus on rebuilding sales volume amidst operational challenges underscores a visionary approach to leadership, one that values resilience and adaptability in equal measure. Tome’s stewardship is a beacon of strategic navigation, positioning UPS for a future where it continues to thrive and expand its market dominance.

Buffet’s Investment Criteria

When contemplating potential targets for Berkshire Hathaway's vast investment portfolio, UPS emerges as a compelling candidate that aligns seamlessly with Warren Buffett's investment philosophy. The logistics behemoth, with its solid dividend yield, strategic cost-cutting measures, and pivotal role in the global delivery and logistics industry, ticks all the boxes of what Buffett looks for in an investment. Berkshire Hathaway has historically favored companies with a strong competitive position, robust financial health, and capable management - qualities that UPS exhibits in abundance. Moreover, UPS's commitment to operational efficiency, evidenced by its labor management and technological advancements, mirrors the value-driven, long-term investment approach espoused by Buffett. The strategic importance of UPS in facilitating global commerce, combined with its efforts to navigate financial and operational challenges with resilience and foresight, makes it an ideal match for Berkshire Hathaway's investment criteria. As speculation around potential acquisitions swirls, UPS stands out as a high-quality, U.S.-oriented company that could very well capture the attention of investment giants like Warren Buffett, promising not just immediate returns but sustained growth and innovation.


In wrapping up our exploration of UPS's journey and its enticing prospects for investors like Berkshire Hathaway, we’ve seen how this delivery giant has not only weathered a storm but is also charting a course towards a brighter, more efficient future. Through strategic labor management, visionary leadership under CEO Carol Tome, and a commitment to operational excellence, UPS demonstrates resilience, adaptability, and a forward-looking approach. These qualities not only align with the investment philosophy of Warren Buffett but also underscore UPS as a beacon of investment potential in the intricate world of global logistics. If you find UPS’s journey and its potential as compelling as we do, or if you have any questions about our referral program designed to bring even more value to our insightful readers like you, don't hesitate to reply to this email. Your engagement is highly valued and we’re here to explore these fascinating investment landscapes together.

Happy investing!

P.S. I want to give a special shoutout to the newsletters I currently enjoy reading:

How satisfied were you with the article length?

Help us improve

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Looking for visuals and charts, rather than words, to understand the daily news?

Bay Area Times is a visual-based newsletter on business and tech, with 250,000+ subscribers.