Whether you can believe it or not, Warren Buffett said that his early involvement in Berkshire Hathaway was a $200 Billion dollar mistake!
In truth, Buffett was ready to sell his shares in the struggling textile mill, but the CEO at the time attempted to undercut a verbal offer that he had made to Buffett. A very rare thing happened. Warren Buffett let his emotions get the best of him and instead of selling his shares he ended up buying a controlling interest in the ailing company. Why? He did it fire the CEO!
You may want to believe that “that is that” and the rest is history, but that really is not the case. Throughout the years, Berkshire Hathaway continued to struggle until Warren Buffett was eventually capable of turning the holding company around into what it has become today. But this didn’t happen until losing a serious amount of money as the business declined.
In a 2010 CNBC interview with Becky Quick, Buffett said:
“But the truth is I have now committed a major amount of money to a terrible business.… So in 1967, when a good insurance company came along, I bought it for Berkshire Hathaway. I really should – should have bought it for a new entity. Berkshire Hathaway was carrying this anchor, all these textile assets. So initially, it was all textile assets that weren’t any good.… And for 20 years, I fought the textile business before I gave up. If instead of putting that money into the textile business originally, we just started out with the insurance company; Berkshire would be worth twice as it is now.”