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An investor group led by Berkshire Hathaway is buying MidAmerican Energy Holdings for $9 billion in cash and assumed debt, the Des Moines, Iowa-based firm said. Through its retail subsidiaries, MidAmerican Energy in the US and Northern Electric in the UK, the company provides electricity to 2.2 million customers - and natural-gas service to 1.2 million - worldwide. Berkshire Hathaway is the investment corporation of Omaha, Neb., billionaire Warren Buffett.

The $1.71 billion takeover of a relatively small German bank was expected to give the No. 1 asset manager in Scandinavia a foothold in continental Europe. Stockholm-based SEB Group said it sees its purchase of BfG Bank as an opportunity for increased growth in retail distribution and merchant banking. BfG, Germany's fifth-largest bank, has 177 branches and a customer base of about 1 million. Consolidation in the financial sector in the Nordic region has left few takeover opportunities there, analysts said.

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