> Warren Buffett Blog: February 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Warren Buffett sells ExxonMobil shares

Berkshire's latest filing shows that Warren Buffett sold his entire ExxonMobil holding. The holding was bought in Q3 of 2013 for $3.74 billion. He held the shares for less than a year.

Filing also shows Berkshire bought a stake Deere & Co. Buffett began accumulating the position in the third quarter but had not previously disclosed it. The SEC often lets Buffett quietly accumulate large stakes to deter copycats.

Also a new stake of 4.7 million shares in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc was added and Buffett increased his stake in IBM. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Warren Buffett sister donates $100m to Northwestern University

Warren Buffett's sister Roberta “Bertie” Buffett said. “I’m kind of the quiet one, but this was really exciting. I’m very happy.”

Bertie, 81, earned a history degree from Northwestern, worked on the student newspaper and was a Phi Beta Kappa member. She has lived quietly in California, and renewed her interest in the school when she was co-chair of her 50th class reunion in 2004.

She called the university’s president at the time, about making a gift in honor of the Class of 1954.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Keeping it simple the best way to be successful in investing

Investing is not a complicated game, it simple, but it is not easy. It is not an issue of high IQ, but rather an emotional stability and inner peace about the decisions you have made. If you are in the investment business and have an IQ of 150, sell 30 points to someone else.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Its human nature to do things the difficult way

"There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Warren Buffett auctioning his car for charity

Warren Buffett is auctioning off his Cadillac with an autographed dashboard.

You can put in your bid from February 11 to February 19, 2015. Buffett will hand deliver the keys to the highest bidder.

All proceeds go to benefit the non-profit Girls Inc.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Warren Bufett avoids investing in bad business

Warren Buffett talks on his first early mistake in his long career.

My first mistake was in buying control of Berkshire. Though I knew its business – textile manufacturing – to be unpromising, I was enticed to buy because the price looked cheap. Stock purchases of that kind had proved reasonably rewarding in my early years, though by the time Berkshire came along in 1965 I was becoming aware that the strategy was not ideal.

If you buy a stock at a sufficiently low price, there will usually be some hiccup in the fortunes of the business that gives you a chance to unload at a decent profit, even though the long- term performance of the business may be terrible. I call this the “cigar butt” approach to investing. A cigar butt found on the street that has only one puff left in it may not offer much of a smoke, but the “bargain purchase” will make that puff all profit.

Unless you are a liquidator, that kind of approach to buying businesses is foolish. 
First, the original “bargain” price probably will not turn out to be such a steal after all. In a difficult business, no sooner is one problem solved than another surfaces – never is there just one cockroach in the kitchen. 
Second, any initial advantage you secure will be quickly eroded by the low return that the business earns. For example, if you buy a business for $8 million that can be sold or liquidated for $10 million and promptly take either course, you can realize a high return. But the investment will disappoint if the business is sold for $10 million in ten years and in the interim has annually earned and distributed only a few percent on cost. Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Warren Buffett says its easier to avoid difficult problems than solving them

Easy does it. 

After 25 years of buying and supervising a great variety of businesses, Charlie [Munger] and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. 

What we have learned is to avoid them. 

To the extent we have been successful, it is because we concentrated on identifying one-foot hurdles that we could step over rather than because we acquired any ability to clear seven-footers.