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March 31, 2005 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Warren Buffett's letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway make for some entertaining reading and are studied in B schools around the country. The 2004 letter [pdf] was recently released.
posted by ChasFile (11 comments total)

 
Pity about this, though.

And timing is usually his strong point....
posted by IndigoJones at 8:50 AM on March 31, 2005


You'd think he'd have something to say about oil other than that carpets are made of it.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:24 AM on March 31, 2005


Allong those lines Indigo, the new york times had an interesting article about the hypersensitivity of the financial industry to ethical concerns. Sometimes bordering on the extreme.
posted by jba at 9:26 AM on March 31, 2005


indigo - what I heard on NPR was that what the subsidiary of B-H did was not outside accepted accounting practices, but still odd. I wouldn't rush to judgement until there's more information.

One of the things the article points out, and has been a mainstay of B-H is the autonomy of the companies inside the group. This has excited for as long as I've been following the company, and Warren tends to accept blame, but not congratulations which are handed out to those running "his companies."

Another thing to read is the discussion in this letter about what he considers appropriate "independence." I agree that if a board member doesn't have skin in the game, then they aren't going to care enough. The requirement that board members be substantial share-holders argues that they want the long-term stability of the stock. B-H is not a stock that one day-trades.
posted by petrilli at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2005


autonomy of the companies inside the group ... and Warren tends to accept blame...

Then he should appear at Nuremberg for the atrocity that is Jordan's Furniture's advertising. The Teitelbaums are his lieutenants in a campaign to make people embarassed for watching TV.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:02 AM on March 31, 2005


jba, thank you for the link, most intesting, and petrilli, good points. I wasn't really jumping to conclusions(we are talking Breaking News and arcane accounting procedure here) - mostly I was just amused by the juxtaposition. Not the headline you want a day after the Annual Report lands in the stockholders' mailbox.

Alternatively, it could make for a buying opportunity....
posted by IndigoJones at 11:26 AM on March 31, 2005


Alternatively, it could make for a buying opportunity....

Thing is, shares in Berkshire Hathaway cost about $86,000 each, because they've never split.
posted by nyterrant at 12:28 PM on March 31, 2005


Thing is, shares in Berkshire Hathaway cost about $86,000 each, because they've never split.

Bershire B tracks the main stock and currently is trading at about $2,600 per share.
posted by caddis at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2005


Sweet, I could sell a kidney and totally buy like 10 Berkshire Hathaway B shares!
posted by nyterrant at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2005


caddis - more like 2,856 as of today, but who's counting?
posted by IndigoJones at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2005


Always a good read, thanks. He's a smart guy and his writing style is disarmingly straight-forward. Well worth a read if you ever come into contact with money.
posted by quiet at 10:38 AM on April 2, 2005


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