Warren Buffett’s First Choice For Fed Chair Is Ben Bernanke. Second Choice Is A Set Of Steak Knives. Third Choice Is You’re Fired.By Bess Levin
Here’s a neat little story from Bloomberg: Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s long-time right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, moonlights as the chairman of the board of a wee newspaper company called Daily Journal. Daily Journal owns a collection of newspapers so dull that they “specializ[e] in public notice advertising,” particularly notices of foreclosure sales. It also owns $128 million in marketable securities, virtually all of it ($121mm) in common stocks. This is noteworthy because, one, Charlie Munger is the one picking the stocks, and two, Daily Journal’s total book assets are only $173.8mm, its book equity is $106mm, and its market cap is around $190mm. For every dollar you invest in Daily Journal, you’re getting around 33 cents of foreclosure notices and 67 cents of Charlie Munger’s stock-picking. Charlie Munger’s stock-picking: pretty good, as it happens, and in any case a commodity that some people desire.1
Opportunity To Man See’s Candy Assembly Line With Warren Buffett, Wrap Chocolate I Love Lucy-Style Has Passed You ByBy Bess Levin
The CharityBuzz auction benefiting “Communities In Schools of Los Angeles” is over and it’ll be winning bidder Jack Staub who gets to tour the candy factory with the Oracle of Omaha, whose love for See’s peanut brittle, mixed nuts, and licorice nearly rivals the way he feels about Cherry Coke. Better luck next time. [Related, Related]
Sure, every interview with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO since the dawn of time has noted his sippage of Cherry Coke (whether he knows it or not), but that may not always be the case. You want to keep him as a customer, you gotta work for it. Read more »
Derivatives are confusing, even pretty simple ones, which is why Goldman Sachs can describe Warren Buffett’s sale of $5 billion of GS stock like this:
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. today announced that it has amended its warrant agreement with Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and certain of its subsidiaries (collectively, Berkshire Hathaway) from cash settlement1 to net share settlement.
“We intend to hold a significant investment in Goldman Sachs, a firm that I did my first transaction with more than 50 years ago,” said Warren Buffett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway. “I have been privileged to have known and admired Goldman’s executive leadership team since my first meeting with Sidney Weinberg in 1940.”
“We are pleased that Berkshire Hathaway intends to remain a long-term investor in Goldman Sachs,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.
In September 2008, Buffett bought – among other things – warrants to buy 43.5mm shares of Goldman Sachs stock in October 2013 for $115 a share, for a total purchase price of $5 billion. Today he amended that to instead allow him to buy in October 2013, for a total purchase price of zero, a number of Goldman Sachs shares equal to (A) 43.5 million times (B) [the average trading price of those shares at the end of September 2013 minus $115] divided by (C) that average trading price. As of when I type this, at a price of $145.80, that works out to around 9.2 million shares. So one way to read today’s agreement is that in effect Buffett is selling back 34 million (give or take) shares to Goldman for $5 billion. Read more »