The Highlights of Berkshire Hathaway’s 2013 Shareholder Meeting

Since Warren Buffett is a billionaire investor, people listen to him when he has something to say. Let’s take a look at what thousands heard him speak about at his annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting last weekend:

Yes, Berkshire Hathaway held its annual meeting last weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman, and Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO had plenty of advice to dispense.

Josh Funk, of the AP, shares some of their views on what it takes to lead to investment success.

Munger and Buffett both spoke with shareholders and mention that successful investors need to learn as much as they can about the business of which they plan to buy shares. They also need to stick to industries that they know and understand, and they mention that the right temperament is important.

Buffett: “You just have to avoid getting excited when other people are excited.”

Munger: “We’ve always tried to stay sane when other people like to go crazy. That’s a competitive advantage.”

The Motley Fool also shared two other classically Buffett quotes. They are:

“If they try to time their purchases they will do very well for their broker and not very well for themselves.”

“We’re not looking at the aspects of the stock, we’re looking at the aspects of the business.”

Even though Buffett is now 82 years old, his passion and intensity hasn’t diminished whatsoever. He claims that he is just as passionate about running Berkshire Hathaway today as he was when he was a much younger man. He still enjoys hunting for acquisitions, and he finds it quite enjoyable.

“You have to love something to do well at it. There’s nothing more fun for me than finding something new to add to Berkshire.”

A 30-year-old asked the investing duo about advice they would give themselves if they were 50 years younger. Here’s what they had to say:

Munger: We’re basically so old-fashioned that we’re boringly trite. We think you ought to keep plugging along, and stay rational, and stay energetic. Just all the old virtues still work.

Buffett: But find what turns you on.

Munger: Yeah, you have to work where you’re turned on. I don’t know about Warren, but I’ve never succeeded to any great extent in something I didn’t like doing.

Buffett: Charlie and I both started in the same grocery store and neither one of us are in the grocery business.

During the financial crisis in 2009, Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway backed iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson and bought $300 million worth of debt. The company needed to raise cash, so they offered bonds with a 15%  return. Those bonds mature in 2014. Here’s what Warren Buffett had to say about this transaction:

“We did not think Harley-Davidson was going bankrupt.  Any company that gets customers to tattoo ads on their chests can’t be all that bad.”

The most pressing question from shareholders is who would replace Buffett when he finally retires as chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett was quoted by BRW as saying, “The key is preserving a culture and having a successor, a CEO that will have more brains, more energy, more passion for it than even I have… We’re solidly in agreement as to who that individual should be.”

Buffett did not disclose his eventual successor.

The Wall Street Journal brought up the issue of whether or not Warren Buffett’s son Howard would be the one to take over. Buffett responded by saying, “The probability of a mistake being made is one in a hundred. It’s not his job to run a business… He only has to think about whether the board and himself may need to change the CEO.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *