Goldman Sachovia Would've Happened If Warren Buffett Hadn't Stepped In And Pointed Out The Obvious

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The Oracle of Omaha. He's not just good for marrying folksy business wisdom with aberrant sex fetish. He can also be counted on to bring up the pink elephant in the room (it helps if said elephant has huge cans) when no one else will. According to Andrew Ross Sorkin's new book on the weeks following Lehman biting the big one, everybody was ready to sign off on a merger between Goldman and Wachovia until Buffett knocked his cane against some foreheads while asking, "Who does Hank Paulson work for? Think, McFly, think!"

Sorkin reports that the deal, which was nearly consummated, would have merged Goldman Sachs and Wachovia. Henry M. Paulson, the Treasury secretary and former C.E.O. of Goldman, was deeply involved in the process, contacting both Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's current C.E.O., and a Wachovia board member, and strongly urged both to consider it. Wachovia's C.E.O., Robert Steel, was a former vice-chairman at Goldman Sachs and Paulson's former number two at the Treasury Department.
Sorkin reports that Warren Buffett was also contacted about investing in the merged company, but told a banker at Goldman that it would never happen. "By tonight the government will realize they can't provide capital to a deal that's being done by the former firm of the Treasury secretary with the company of a former vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs and former deputy Treasury secretary," Buffett said.

"There is no way. They'll all wake up and realize, even if it was the best deal in the world, they can't do it."

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Back in February, in his annual letter to investors, Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett spent a good bit of time discussing why one shouldn't own gold. Beyond the fact that, according to WB, gold doesn't "change in size and [is] incapable of producing anything," and you'd be much better off buying farmland (which "a century from now will have produced staggering amounts of corn, wheat, cotton and other crops and will continue to produce that valuable bounty") or shares of Exxon Mobil (which "will probably have delivered trillions of dollars in dividends to its owners," the Oracle of Omaha had one incontrovertible, be all end all reason for eschewing the metal: its unfuckability. Oh sure, you can do things to a cube, you can fondle it, you can talk dirty to it, you can send nude pictures of yourself, you can even drill a hole in it and fuck it senseless, but, the thing is, the cube will not respond. No reciprocation, no gratitude, not even a sign it enjoyed itself.  For Buffett, no further argument was necessary as to the worthlessness of the commodity. (Silver, on the other hand, will make you feel like you're 18 again.) Anyway, David Einhorn sort of feels the same way about the dollar. Greenlight Capital 1Q2012 Letter To Investors [PDF] Related: Don't Think He Hasn't Tried