Sunday, May 3, 2009

LA Times Roundup: Buffett and Munger share wit and wisdom with Berkshire Hathaway shareholders at annual meeting (BRK.A)

From the Los Angeles Times:
Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger spent more than five hours Saturday answering questions from shareholders.

Here is a sample of their wit and wisdom on a variety of topics:

Berkshire owns the Buffalo News and it has a sizable investment in the Washington Post Co. Buffett reiterated Saturday that Berkshire won't be adding to those newspaper investments.

"For most newspapers in the United States, we would not buy them at any price," Buffett said.

He said most newspapers face the possibility of unending losses because the industry has lost its essential nature.

"They were only essential to advertisers as long as they were essential to the reader, and that is changing," Buffett said.



Buffett said he doesn't think the conflicts of interest at credit rating agencies caused their problems, or the problems with the complicated collateralized debt obligations that turned out to be worth much less than ratings agencies estimated.

Buffett said Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings and other credit rating agencies all seemed to buy into the faulty notion that house prices would continue increasing indefinitely and based their ratings models on that.

"They made a major mistake in analyzing the instruments," Buffett said. "But they made a mistake a great many people made."

Berkshire does own 48 million shares of Moody's, comprising a stake of more than 20 percent. But Buffett said he never tried to influence the way Moody's developed its ratings because Berkshire generally doesn't do that.

"When we own stock, we are not there to change them," Buffett said....MORE
I have to run. Here are this weekend's posts on the annual meeting:
Warren Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway 2009 Annual Meeting Links (BRK.A)
Update: Warren Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway 2009 Annual Meeting Links (BRK.A)
The 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Has Ended
Twitter's Realtime Results for Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)
Here's the Story on Berkshire's Munger (BRK.A)
Up Close And Personal With Berkshire Hathaway (BRK)
Insurance still pillar of Berkshire empire. And: Buffett Says Bets May Cost His Company Money (BRK.A)
We are fans of Warren and have been since passing on BKHT at $800. For other junkies, here's a treat, bookmark the link:
Warren Buffett, Mr. Market and the Buffett Partnership Letters, 1959-1969 (BRK.A)
You might also be interested in (talk about an "If you're like me [and I know I am]" moment) using the Search Blog box, keyword Berkshire, we have a lot of stuff on Warren and Charlie.
Back Monday.

UPDATE-See also:As Close to a Transcript of the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting as You're Going to Find* (BRK.A)