Lloyd Blankfein Basically Told Warren Buffett To Suck It

Paraphrasing, but only slightly.
Author:
Publish date:

Mr. Buffett used his annual letter not only to describe the performance of Berkshire Hathaway but also to warn — or educate — his faithful followers about “the Street’s denizens” and how they “are always ready to suspend disbelief when dubious maneuvers are used to manufacture rising per-share earnings, particularly if these acrobatics produce mergers that generate huge fees for investment bankers.” At one point in the letter, Mr. Buffett argues: “Investment bankers, being paid as they are for action, constantly urge acquirers to pay 20 percent to 50 percent premiums over market price for publicly held businesses. The bankers tell the buyer that the premium is justified for ‘control value’ and for the wonderful things that are going to happen once the acquirer’s C.E.O. takes charge.” He goes on to say that “a few years later, bankers — bearing straight faces — again appear and just as earnestly urge spinning off the earlier acquisition in order to ‘unlock shareholder value.’ Spinoffs, of course, strip the owning company of its purported ‘control value’ without any compensating payment.” [...] Mr. Blankfein, reached by email, quipped: “Warren’s comments about bankers must be based on conjecture or hearsay. As far as I know, he doesn’t take advice from bankers or pay them.” (He did add that “occasionally he invests in them.”) [NYT via BI]

Related