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Can David Sokol Really Be Expected To Recall Everything He Knew About The Lubrizol Deal And When?

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When David Sokol, the Berkshire lieutenant thought to be the frontrunner for Warren Buffett's job resigned two weeks ago, Buffett sent a letter mentioning that Sokol owned a bunch of shares of Lubrizol, which he had bought before pitching WB on the idea for the company. Sokol says he didn't know much or how Buffett would react or if there was a snowball's chance in hell BRK would acquire the company, or if anyone would even take this thing seriously. Turns out he may have had some reason to at least have a hunch.

In the March 30 letter, Mr. Buffett wrote that Mr. Sokol bought nearly 100,000 Lubrizol shares in January, just before recommending the industrial manufacturer as a potential takeover target. But the letter never mentioned that Mr. Sokol knew Lubrizol’s chief executive was planning to talk to the company’s board about a possible deal with Berkshire — and that he knew a few weeks before buying $10 million of stock for his personal portfolio. The Lubrizol preliminary proxy, filed on Monday, revealed for the first time that Citigroup told Mr. Sokol about such discussions in December.



Former Berkshire Hathaway Executive Has Only The Nicest Things To Say About Warren Buffett

On March 30, 2011, Warren Buffett penned an open letter expressing support for his former lieutenant, David Sokol, whose trading activities had been called into question. "Neither Dave nor I feel his Lubrizol purchases were in any way unlawful," Buffett wrote. Then, a month later, he told shareholders and reporters gathered at the BKR annual meeting in Omaha that, actually, Sokol was a degenerate bum; a piece of garbage that needed to be taken out, lest it stink up the place. (Actual words: "inexcusable," "inexplicable," in violation of "the company's insider-trading rules and code of ethics." Buffett added that Berkshire "had turned over some very damning evidence" re: Sokol to the Securities and Exchange Commission, to boot.) Though Sokol did not publicly respond to the comments at the time, they presumably stung quite a bit, since having your unassailable ex-boss basically call you a lowlife does not do wonders for the reputation. Now, a year later, after being informed that the SEC would not be taking action against him, is he in a Zen place about life in general and Buffett's words specifically? Are the two men cool? Could Sokol see them being friends again one day? At the very least, is he ready to laugh about them? Yes, yes he is.