> Warren Buffett Blog: July 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Warren Buffett praises Ace Greenberg

Ace Greenberg does almost everything better than I do: bridge, magic tricks, dog training, arbitrage - all of the important things in life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Warren Buffett on NetJets

The story of Mr. Warren Buffett and NetJets goes like this: He purchased his first NetJets share in 1995 and was so impressed with the charter jet service, which pioneered the concept of fractional aircraft ownership, that he bought the company three years later. 

He and his family have flown more than 5,000 hours on NetJets to date. That is the equivalent to flying 24 hours a day for seven months.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Warren Buffett on building wind farms

We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

National Indemnity strikes deal with Buffett

Last week Berkshire’s Omaha-based National Indemnity Co. agreed to take over as much as $6.5 billion in Liberty Mutual Holding Co.’s liabilities for insurance policies covering asbestos, environmental and workers’ compensation risks, in exchange for a premium of about $3 billion.

The transaction means National Indemnity, part of Berkshire’s insurance operation headed by Ajit Jain, would manage claims for damage that will stretch far into the future, and in the meantime use the $3 billion for other investments.

Berkshire made a similar agreement with American International Group in 2012, receiving $1.68 billion and taking over potential asbestos claims up to $3.5 billion.

For Liberty Mutual, based in Boston, the transfer of risk to Berkshire “eliminates a substantial source of uncertainty,” said Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long.

Berkshire will accept that uncertainty and, with its long-range financial view, expects to make a profit when all the claims end and investment results are added up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Warren Buffett buys new Cadillac

Billionaire Warren Buffett wrote a letter to Mary Barra praising his car-buying experience at Huber Cadillac in Omaha. 
Buffett with GM sales girl who delivered the car

It is reported Warren Buffett sent his daughter, Susie Buffett, to the dealership to make the purchase. The saleswoman recommended that Warren Buffett buy the XTS sedan he picked, not the CTS coupe that Barra had recommended.

Buffett joked that the reason the saleswoman recommended the sedan is that his daughter described the 83-year-old investor who runs Berkshire Hathaway as "hopelessly over-the-hill."

Buffett’s 2006 Cadillac DTS, with 19,000 miles on it, will go to Girls Inc. as a fundraiser. When he bought the 2006 model, he donated his 2001 Lincoln Town Car, with 14,000 miles on it, to Girls Inc., too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Warren has donated 2.8 Billion worth of dollars to Bill Gates foundation

Warren Buffett donated a record $2.8 billion in securities to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four Buffett family foundations, bringing his total contributions to the foundations over the past eight years to $18.7 billion.

In 2007 Buffett pledged nearly all his wealth to the foundations through annual contributions of his stock in Berkshire Hathaway Inc., or from his estate after he dies. As chairman and CEO, he built the Omaha conglomerate into the nation’s fourth-largest corporation over the past 55 years.

The latest contributions: $2.13 billion to the Gates Foundation, $213 million to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and $149 million each, or $447.6 million total, to foundations headed by his children, Susan, Howard and Peter.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Warren Buffett on Charles Munger advise

More than 50 years ago, Charlie [Munger] told me that it was far better to buy a wonderful business at a fair price than to buy a fair business at a wonderful price. Despite the compelling logic of his position, I have sometimes reverted to my old habit of bargain-hunting, with results ranging from tolerable to terrible.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One of Buffett's largest position is in Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil is now believed to be Warren Buffett’s seventh largest stock investment.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy is owner of everything from utilities to gas pipelines to the $15 billion worth of solar and wind investments, already making it Berkshire's biggest commitment to any industry save insurance.

Berkshire’s growing energy portfolio includes NV Energy, the largest utility in Nevada, for which it paid nearly $6 billion last year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Warren Buffet shares book with Bill Gates

Bill Gates has revealed his favorite business book and probably his inspiration for success. The book is called Business Adventures and it’s by a man named John Brooks. Brooks contributed to the New Yorker for years and decided to compile all of his stories about Wall Street and American business into one anthology, which ended up being Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ favorite business book of all time.

The book was originally lent to Bill Gates by fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, an investor who also considered Business Adventures to be his favorite book on the topic. It may come as a surprise to learn that the book isn’t a guide on how to get rich, but being Bill Gates’ favorite book might make people wonder if there’s anything in Business Adventures that helped Gates find his success.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Warren Buffett praises Carol Loomis of Fortune who is retiring as his oldest newsletter editor

In January 1954, a bright-eyed 24-year-old from Cole Camp, Missouri, walked into Fortune magazine's offices at Rockefeller Center in New York. Armed with a college journalism degree and work experience writing for a Maytag company magazine, she took an entry-level job assisting Fortune's male writers.

The young woman, Carol Loomis, navigated the magazine's "Mad Men"-like culture, on one occasion slapping a married colleague whom, she delicately recalled, "had an agenda." She proved herself as a reporter but had to battle gender stereotypes. In 1970, she fought her way into an Economic Club of New York dinner after its director said he did not want "any frivolous little Smith girls looking for a free dinner and the chance to spend an evening with 1,200 men in black tie."

"She has an analytical mind, and she keeps learning," said Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor and a close friend. "We males never do that. We quit at about 15. We just think we know it all. At 85, she is interested in learning more."

On Monday, Fortune will publish her final article before she retires, a piece about one of the world's most powerful financiers, Laurence D. Fink of BlackRock.

Loomis is perhaps best known as Buffett's Boswell. She has been Fortune's resident expert on Buffett since meeting him in 1966, and each year edits the annual shareholder letter of Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway - an unusual role for a financial journalist. The two speak nearly every business day and are frequent bridge partners, playing mostly over the Internet.

She will have more time now for bridge. At her age, she said, it was becoming too difficult to jump on a plane and take extended trips to write the deeply reported, lengthy magazine features that she worked on throughout her career.

"I began to realize that some of the things that a Fortune writer needs to do, just take for granted, become a little bit harder at this age," said Loomis, seated in a Fortune conference room Wednesday. "I didn't want to be a Fortune writer who was constrained in any way."

She was introduced to Buffett by her husband, John, a retired partner at First Manhattan, the New York investment manager.

Now that she is officially retired, Loomis said she hoped to first catch up on the lunches she missed while finishing her article on Fink and BlackRock. She also needs to find a place for the nine boxes of reporter's notes cluttering her garage. And she looks forward to playing more golf and bridge.

Loomis also plans to continue her regular conversations with Buffett and assist him with his writings. After editing the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter for nearly 40 years, she likes to remind Buffett that he still needs her help. She said that dangling participles and the passive voice were persistent problems.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The secret to Warren Buffett's success

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Warren Buffett on diversifying investments

Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.