(PresidentialInsider.com)- After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the only shareholder meeting of its kind may set a new record, one that they already held.
Decades ago, what started in a modest cafeteria now sells out arenas with Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney. Worldwide, tens of thousands are expected to descend on Omaha, Nebraska–the birthplace of the “Oracle of Omaha,” a.k.a. Warren Buffett.
Admission fee? One stake of his 57-year-old business, Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett, 91, will take the stage Saturday to announce that Berkshire Hathaway’s stock has outperformed the market once again.
Buffett expects a record-breaking turnout of over 40,000, though Berkshire later downplayed that prediction. Even though he constantly deals in odds due to his enormous insurance business, he never casually throws out numerical projections.
The capitalist circus’s #1 attraction is an oddity more fascinating than any three-headed snake: two elderly self-made billionaires, Buffett and his 98-year-old best friend and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who, decade after decade, have crushed stock market benchmarks and the world’s top fund managers.
They’ve done it by following simple, disciplined investment rules that everyone knows but few, if any, follow.
They answer questions from the crowd for hours alone on stage. This year, they will be joined by Buffett’s ultimate successor, Vice Chairman Greg Abel, and Vice-Chairman Ajit Jain, who manages Berkshire’s massive insurance division.
Berkshire’s stock has returned 30% over the past year, compared to the S&P’s 8%.
Buffett is now the sixth richest person in the world, yet in 1965 he was simply the Nebraska neighbor next door, so bashful he had to take the Dale Carnegie course ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ to meet possible investors.
He went door-to-door, asking friends and relatives to invest in and buy cash-producing enterprises that produced unique, quality items that were best in class, like Geico Insurance, American Express, Coca-Cola, See’s Candies. See’s made so much money that he leveraged the company’s cash flow to buy other enterprises, including an entire railroad.
He also collects large blocks of shares in firms that suit his needs. Apple, Bank of America, Kroger, HP Inc., and Occidental Petroleum are among Berkshire’s $340 billion stock holdings.
Is this the last in-person encounter with Warren & Charlie? Both are physically ill. Munger, 98, has a strong mind (his latest love is architecture), but he is mostly wheelchair-bound and has limited vision.
While naming Abel and Jain as his successors, Buffett recently stated that Abel “hasn’t started warming up yet,” possibly indicating that Buffett is not ready to relinquish control of Berkshire, let alone transfer it over to Abel.
Is it because Buffett fears losing Berkshire equity if he leaves?
Don’t believe him when he says Jain and Abel are wiser than he is. While each is great in their specialty, the fact that Buffett had four others perform what he did by himself for years speaks volumes.
It’s no surprise that investors from China and Australia cling to his every word.