Warren Buffett is offering up to $1 million a year for life to the winner of his March Madness bracket challenge

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is resuming its March Madness bracket contest.
  • One employee will win at least $100,000 and as much as $1 million a year for life.
  • If Buffett’s favorite team makes the final four, the winner’s prize money doubles.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is offering one employee up to $2 million a year for the rest of their lives. They just have to guess the winner of 48 games in a basketball tournament, and Buffett’s favorite team has to make it to the final four.

The billionaire investor’s company said this week that it would reinstate its March Madness bracket contest, after the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Berkshire will award $100,000 to the employee who picks the winner of the most games before making an incorrect guess. It will hand $1 million to any employee who guesses the victor of all 32 first-round games correctly.

If a Berkshire employee manages to guess the outcome of all 48 first-round and second-round games, they will receive an annuity paying $1 million a year for the rest of their lives.

Moreover, if Creighton University – Buffett’s hometown team – advances to the final four, Berkshire will double the prize money. That would increase the top award from $1 million a year to $2 million.

“Warren Buffett hopes that this year’s winner will be awarded one of the larger prizes and receives the Creighton ‘bump,'” Berkshire said in a press release.

Buffett started the yearly contest in 2016, and since then a number of Berkshire employees have correctly picked 31 of the 32 winners of the first-round games, the company said.

The billionaire touted the competition as the “ultimate office bracket contest” in a CNBC interview in 2016. “We have a good time,” he said a year later.

Buffett may have got the idea from his friend Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, which now trades as Rocket Companies. The investor agreed to finance the mortgage group’s bracket challenge in 2014, which offered $1 billion to anyone who filled out a perfect March Madness bracket.

Nobody won, but Berkshire was paid a $10 million premium for shouldering the risk.

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UWM Holdings jumps 36% as its inclusion on FTSE Russell list sparks social-media chatter

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  • Shares of UWM Holdings Corporation jumped 36% as its inclusion on the FTSE Russell list sparked social-media chatter. 
  • The mortgage company will be added to the Russell 1000 and Russell 3000 indices. 
  • The addition fueled social media chatter that had already been focused on mortgages following Rocket Companies’ 71% surge in the previous session.
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UWM Holdings Corporation jumped as much as 36% to $12.45 on Wednesday after the mortgage lender’s inclusion on the FTSE Russell IPO list propelled social media excitement that was already brewing around mortgage stocks following Rocket Companies’ massive rally a day earlier.

UWM will be added to both the Russell 1000 and Russell 3000, according to a FTSE Russell announcement on Tuesday. The mortgage company is one of 47 newly public companies that will be joining the indices. 

The Russell announcement coincided with mortgage stock excitement on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum following Rocket Companies’ recent rally. Rocket spiked 71% on Tuesday with some investors viewing its high short interest as a potential target for the next GameStop-like short squeeze. 

“Yes $RKT is absolutely mooning right now. Did you miss the RKT Rocket? Don’t FOMO on the way back down to earth. Great news, there’s another one on the tarmac ready for liftoff. It’s name is $UWMC,” one WSB user posted Tuesday night. 

The user also detailed UWM’s strong fourth quarter earnings, dividend announcements, and addition to the Russell 1000 and 3000 indices as “catalysts” for the stock. 

Shares of Rocket Companies were down 9.3% Wednesday.

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Rocket Companies surges 70% as chatter from Reddit’s Wall Street Bets spikes

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Reddit logo.

  • Shares of Rocket Companies soared over 60% on Tuesday amid a recent spike in chatter around the company on the Wall Street Bets subreddit.
  • In the past 24 hours, two users have posted screenshots of how much they individually invested in the company. Both have received thousands of upvotes.
  • Another post, however, reiterated that anything other than GameStop is a distraction.
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Shares of Rocket Companies soared over 70% on Tuesday to their highest point since debuting in public markets in August 2020, amid a recent spike in chatter around the company on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets forum.

In the past 24 hours, two users have posted separate screenshots of how much they individually invested in the company. Both have received thousands of upvotes. Another post, however, reiterated that anything other than GameStop, including Rocket Companies, is a distraction.

The Detroit-based holding company has a high short interest, at nearly 40% of available shares, according to FactSet. It is also among the top candidates to be shorted by hedge funds, CNBC reported.

“Rocket’s rally today is demonstrative of the influence and staying power of the new market contingency of retail investors. After the Q4 earnings call, which announced a $1.10 special dividend and $1B buyback program, WallStreetBets users rushed in,” William Callewaert, a portfolio manager for a tech financing firm said, referring to the special dividend the company announced last week. 

Last week, retail traders on Reddit reignited the GameStop trade, sending shares up over 200% during the week, though the rally failed to generate the momentum seen last month. 

Rocket Companies reported fourth-quarter earnings last week that beat expectations. Increased adjusted revenue was at $4.8 billion, up 162% year-over-year, while net income grew to $2.8 billion, up 277% year-over-year. Increased Adjusted net income, meanwhile, ballooned to $2.3 billion, up 350% year-over-year.

Shares of Rocket Companies traded at $37 at 2:25PM ET on Tuesday. 

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