Current estimates tell us that between 42,000 to 44,000 shareholders are expected to show up at the shareholder meeting celebrating 50 years of Warren Buffett managing Berkshire Hathaway. The annual meeting this year is going to be held on May 2nd.
This amount is between 3000 to 5000 more people than the 39,000 attendees that set a record last year, we learn according to the office of Warren Buffett on Wednesday.
The estimate comes from the number of shareholders that are requesting meeting credentials for this year. Each shareholder has the opportunity to request as many as four passes – the plastic cards with lanyards – that will allow them to gain entrance into the meeting and other related events on the days leading up to the meeting and afterwards as well.
Not all of the credentials will end up being used at the meeting, but the amount of requests is a good way to gauge the expected audience.
The meeting is going to be held at the CenturyLink Center arena, and the auditorium only holds about 18,000 people when arranged in a concert style setting. There are seats that are also blocked by a curtain behind the stage, and this is where Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett will spend 4 ½ or more hours answering questions from financial analysts, journalists and shareholders.
They will have an additional 12,000 seats available in ballrooms and meeting rooms adjacent to the convention center next door at the Hilton Omaha, and they will have video and audio hookups available. There will also be many shareholders wandering around the exhibition hall at the CenturyLink Center, where many of the Berkshire Hathaway companies will sell services and products.
For the first time ever – in an effort to ease the shopping crunch – Berkshire Hathaway is going to open the exhibition hall for shareholders on May 1 at noon to 5 PM, taking place one day prior to the meeting.
Berkshire Hathaway was originally a textile manufacturer based out of Massachusetts when Warren Buffett bought a controlling interest in 1965. Since that time, Buffett has used this company as a vehicle to acquire more businesses and make investments, while building a mega-conglomerate of close to 100 companies that have more than 380,000 employees that generate annual revenue of roughly $200 billion.
Warren Buffett estimates that around a million people own shares of Berkshire Hathaway. And the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting is one of the most well attended throughout the entire country. The Walmart annual meeting – in comparison – is held at a 72,000 seat football stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.