Thursday, March 31, 2011

LIVE BLOG - David Sokol's Live Interview on CNBC's Squawk Box (BRK.A; BRK.B)

For folks who read faster than they can listen. This is currently in blog format, newest first. We'll update when they put out the formal transcript.
From CNBC:
This is a live blog of David Sokol's exclusive interview on CNBC's Squawk Box.
He is discussing his surprise resignation as a top Berkshire executive and the revelation that he personally bought shares in Lubrizol before recommending to Warren Buffett that Berkshire Hathaway buy the company.
Sokol has been widely seen as the leading candidate to eventually succeed Buffett as Berkshire's CEO.
Refresh to see new dispatches.  All times are Eastern.

7:55 AM:  Sokol says that in the past he had invested in a company that he also recommended to Buffett, but it was a small bank that he though would be of no interest to Berkshire.
7:55 AM:  Sokol: It would have been a "completely different scenario" if he was involved in Berkshire's decision to buy Lubrizol.
7:54 AM:  Sokol says it wouldn't make any sense for him to invest in companies he likes, for his family's benefit, and not share his enthusiasm for the company with Buffett.
7:53 AM:  Sokol understands the appearance issue and says that's why everything was fully disclosed in the news release.
7:51 AM:  "I made the decision to buy the shares because I thought it was a good investment and I'd do it again tomorrow."  But Sokol says it didn't occur to him to sell the shares once Buffett showed interest in Lubrizol because he would have no influence over Berkshire's decision.
7:49 AM:  Sokol says he first spoke to Buffett about Lubrizol in mid-January, telling him there is an opportunity to meet with Lubrizol's CEO.  At that time, he also told Buffett about owning Lubrizol shares.  Buffett was initially cool to the idea, but Sokol had dinner with the CEO for further exploration.
7:48 AM:  Sokol says he bought more shares in January as Lubrizol's stock price came down enough to meet his limit order at $104/share.
7:47 AM:  Sokol first started looking at Lubrizol last fall and first bought shares in December.  He had put in a limit order for 50,000 shares but only 2300 shares were filled as the price rose.  He decided to sell those shares later that month as part of his personal tax planning.
7:46 AM:  Sokol points out that "I have never had any authority at Berkshire to to invest a dollar in stocks."
7:45 AM:  Sokol says information about his purchases of Lubrizol shares was included in the news release announcing his resignation for full disclosure, to be "100 percent transparent."
7:44 AM:   Sokol doesn't aspire to be CEO of Berkshire, and in any case, "The reality is Warren's not going anywhere."
7:42 AM:  Sokol says in the past Buffett has talked him out of resigning but didn't do so this time.  Sokol thinks it was a mistake to stay on at Berkshire the previous time he tried to resign.
7:41 AM:  Sokol says he's wanted to head out on his own for several years but stayed at Berkshire when Buffett ask him to turn around the troubled NetJets subsidiary.  Now NetJets doesn't need his help any more.
7:40 AM:  Sokol was Berkshire is a wonderful company, but "what I like to do is build companies."  His work at Berkshire involved dealing with many details.  

7:39 AM:  The interview begins.  Sokol is sitting on the set with Becky Quick and Joe Kernen.7:35 AM:  Squawk's live, exclusive interview with David Sokol is scheduled to begin at 7:40 AM ET.