Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The 2007 Berkshire Hathway Annual Meeting

Well, it was an interesting AGM this year to say the least. Rather than try to pick through it all, I thought I would provide you with a rather complete transcript of the session. Here is a friend's version. Based on what I heard, this is a fairly accurate transcript.


I will add this: it is clear that Buffett is looking beyond North America more and more. He made some very subtle, yet valuable comments alluding as much. According to Buffett, Berkshire has two stakes in German companies. Buffett also indicated that Berkshire is involved in a currency transaction that he will get into next year. "You won't believe it" says Buffett.

It's important to realize a couple of things about Berkshire and its forays into foreign investments. First, Buffett hates it when his buying becomes public knowledge. In Germany, for example, laws dictate that upon a 3% accumulation of shares, one must make a public filing. Thus if Berkshire finds an attractive $30 billion company, after accumulating $900 million worth, the word gets out and Berkshire is unable to quietly continue adding to the position at its preferred price. This just one example, but it serves to illustrate that Buffett's "minimal" participation in the global markets doesn't necessarily equate to not having attractive valuations overseas. Buffett has said time and time again, Berkshire's size is such that its performance CAN NOT come close to what is was in the past. Berkshire's need to find investments that can move the needle simply preclude a lot of attractive opportunities domestic and foreign.

Buffett is looking very closely at South Africa and has been presented with some very attractive businesses.

1 comment:

George said...

It looks like it's time I started researching companies in South Africa.