LEUCADIA NATIONAL MAY BE THE CLOSEST THING to what Berkshire Hathaway was 20 years ago, before Berkshire became so large that Warren Buffett needed investments of several billion dollars to move the needle.
Run for 30 years by a secretive duo, Ian Cumming and Joseph Steinberg, Leucadia has invested in a wide variety of stocks and a diverse group of businesses. It has generated impressive returns and developed a cult-like following among value-oriented investors who like its investment style -- and results. Buffett is a fan of Leucadia, although Berkshire doesn't own the stock. Leucadia's book value, which stood at $23 a share on Sept. 30, is up from just 11 cents in 1979, an annual growth rate of more than 20%.