Of course, by now you know that a few firms in the business of watching such things (but who shall remain nameless given the very real possibility of reprisals) decided to downgrade Berkshire Hathaway. Just like that. No appeal. No consideration. We ask you, where is gratitude?
Now, we know that some of you are worried that this will have an impact on the deadly and dangerous "Berkshire Puts," everyone talks about. We understand your concern. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded put option. Add to this the fact that these particular puts weren't the subject of much discussion or explanation until recently, and the mercurial vagaries of the mystery puts only served to fuel the rumor mill. But, c'mon people, the Sage should have put these fears to rest in Berkshire's Q3 10-Q. Specifically:
Under certain circumstances, including a downgrade of its credit rating below specified levels, Berkshire may be required to post collateral against derivative contract liabilities. However, Berkshire is not required to post collateral with respect to most of its credit default and equity index put option contracts and at September 30, 2008 and December 31, 2007, Berkshire had posted no collateral with counterparties as security on these contracts.
So while everyone was wondering if, as of this moment, Berkshire was on double-secret put probation, Berkshire was bailing out Swiss re-insurance giants. Clearly, The Buff still has the touch, because they all seem to pay back early. (Though we hope that there are some big pre-payment fees attached there, Buff-buff).
Troubled reinsurer Swiss Re hould be able to generate enough funds to buy back convertible bonds issued to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, said Chairman Peter Forstmoser on Friday.
So can we stop worrying about the puts and start concentrating on things that really matter? Like what the hell are all these CDS contracts Warren keeps talking about?
Berkshire Loses Top Rating on Investments, Buffett Role [CNBC]
Earlier:The Ghost Of Put Options Past