Somebody Save Warren Buffett From Himself, Bear Stearns

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Warren Buffett’s petition for membership to the egalitarian brotherhood of People Who Are Fucking Nuts has been officially accepted. Last year, he decided that Berkshire Hathaway-owned Geico would not take part in the Caveman sitcom. Last week he reduced his company’s investment in genocide to an embarrassingly trivial 8.93 percent. Today comes the news that he’s in serious talks to buy a stake in Bear Stearns. Three times = a trend, this one being WB’s insanity.
The New York Times reports that Buffett first approached James Cayne about the purchase last month, when the bank’s stock was about to celebrate its one-year low of $100. Deals have faltered in the past because the bridge player (first, CEO second) has often insisted on premiums as high as 40 percent above share price from outside investors. This time, and no one can say for certain but it may have something to do with two failed hedge funds, a 61 percent decline in third quarter profits and the fact that BSC can no longer afford its much-needed cleaning staff, Cayne is reportedly holding out for a premium of only around 20 percent.
Bear’s shares jumped on the rumors of possible sale this afternoon, with the stock trading up over 8 percent. Punk Ziegel analyst Richard Bove upgraded BSC from “sell” to “market perform.” Spokesmen for both Bear and Buffett declined to comment, which generally means they’re up to something, though CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino said that he “doubts” the reports are true. (Gasparino also noted with what sounded like hurt feelings that “Jimmy Cayne has not returned my calls,” presumably because it’s a beautiful day for golf.)
In 1987 Buffett took a 12 percent stake in Salomon Brothers, a move he later regretted, finding the “brash Salomon culture of big egos, big risks and even bigger salaries to be out of step with his down-to-earth demeanor.” Hopefully he can be reminded of the bad taste SB left in his mouth, which not even a dozen Oreo Blizzards could purge, before it’s too late. Carney's got the keys to his house-- everyone meets there tonight at 8 for an intervention (power of attorney papers have already been drawn up). We lost him on the Sudan. Let’s not lose him on this.
Earlier: Why Doesn’t Warren Buffett Want To Fund Genocide Anymore?

Buffett Among Those Said to Consider Bear Stake [New York Times]

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