Selling Out To Warren Buffett: Kevin Clayton CEO Of Clayton Homes

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Up close and personal interview with Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, the largest factory built homebuilder in the United States and a wholly owned subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. For nearly one hour, author Robert Miles interviews Kevin Clayton and covers all aspects of the business from getting started, to taking over from his father, and to selling to Warren Buffett.

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Selling Out To Warren Buffett: Clayton Homes


Yes we are a very large affordable housing producer. So we currently have 36 manufacturing plants and each of those terrific general managers runs their operation. They're scattered across the whole U.S. from coast to coast and between all those plants will build almost 200 houses each and every day we have 450 retail stores that we own. And in addition to that we have about 1200 wonderful independent retailers that biproduct as well from us. And then the finance company around 450000 customers paying monthly and we try to earn their mortgage business on each sale that we make out there than then we write insurance as well. Being a Warren Buffett company he particularly like the insurance and of course the financing. So it's five businesses and one it is. And how did you happen to get into the business. Well my father fortunately for me my father was raised on a cotton farm in west Tennessee and I picked cotton every day. And his father had a dream for my dad and that was to carve out you know five or 10 acres and Dad would have his own land there. And he continued to be a sharecropper and my dad had some different plans and fortunately for us he moved to Knoxville Tennessee and started selling multiple jobs as you can imagine. He literally had three jobs at all times got into the radio and broadcasting business started running some line ads while he was in the fraternity selling used cars.

And shortly thereafter he had a used car lot and not too much longer after that took a trade in of a manufactured home for a used car made born on the train and the mobile home. And the story starts going from there and it was long we were driving to Elkhart Indiana buying new manufactured housing and started that segment the business. But how did you get into the business. Well that was the question I really grew up working around my Dad Night and day all of my brothers and sisters too we all contributed from setting up installing manufactured homes. And it was a lot of fun growing up around that and watching the company grow and my mom and all of us work to try to make it happen. Well you sold the business to Warren Buffett and that started after Warren was visited by students from the University of Tennessee. They gave him a book correct. He fortunately read the book and placed a call in to see. He called my father the dad was out snow skiing. My dad retired in 1999 and so this was late 0 2 or 2003 and my dad passed the call along to me and what an honor it was to of course call Warren. And we talked for several minutes and before I knew it he became very interested in.

Better yet, view Ken Langone’s interview below: All his investment successes came from investing in good people

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