are assets that generate no cash flow, it becomes very difficult to assign a value, or even a possible range of values. Many advocates/promoters argue that there is a scarcity value assigned to these assets due to their limited availability. While we acknowledge the desirability and appreciation potential of famous artists’ paintings or sculptures, we remain skeptical that digital images of cartoon apes in various incarnations or individual tweets are durable stores of value. We will see.
Overall, our activity was relatively muted last year when compared to 2020. We exited our position in Evoqua Water Technologies with substantial gains and sold most of our position in Discovery Communications Inc. when the shares more than doubled in the early part of the year. After the sharp run-up, the shares experienced a sharp sell-off and then fell further following the announcement of the merger with Warner Media. We were able to re-establish a full position at very attractive prices and believe the future for the combined media company remains very bright.
A new position was established in Aramark Inc., one of the world’s largest providers of food & catering, facilities, and uniform services. Aramark was particularly hard hit by the pandemic shutdowns as it services many sports arenas and stadiums as well as food service for universities and colleges. We paid an average price just under $32 per share or about 12X our estimate of normalized 2023 earnings. We think food service outsourcing and the uniform rental business have long runways for growth and are encouraged by the new leadership and board members brought in late 2019 by the activist Mantle Ridge LP. Unfortunately, many of the new initiatives and operational improvements outlined by the new management were overshadowed with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. Going forward, we expect to see accelerating business performance and a share price approaching pre-pandemic highs.
In addition to always being on the lookout for new ideas, we spend a lot of time reviewing our current holdings. This involves reading company financial filings, research reports, trade journals and listening to quarterly conference calls. This allows us to make sure our original investment premise is still intact, and that management has followed through on their previous articulated goals. It was while reading a trade journal that we came across some new and detailed information on a subsidiary of one of our core holdings, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.
We have followed the company and its chairman, Warren Buffett, for over 35 years and have owned the shares (both for managed accounts and personally) for over 30. Although Buffett is widely thought of as one of world’s greatest investors, Berkshire is only followed by a few analysts. This is in part because the company rarely engages the big Wall Street banks for investment banking services and in part because the company doesn’t provide guidance or participate in quarterly conference calls. The attention that is paid to the company is largely on its investment portfolio of publicly traded securities and the decisions to buy or sell with respect to the portfolio. Rarely mentioned, except by Buffett himself in his annual letter, is the large and growing impact of one of the Berkshire subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).
In last year’s annual letter, Buffett highlighted one of BHE’s most important competitive strengths; unlike other utilities it pays no dividends on its common stock, allowing it to invest heavily in new transmission capabilities. Part of that investment – $18 billion- will go towards