(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s (BRKa.N) annual meeting on May 2 will break with tradition and be held virtually, as the coronavirus pandemic halts large gatherings.
FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett speaks at Forbes magazine’s celebration of its 100th anniversary and the 100 greatest living business minds, in New York, New York, U.S., Sept 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Stempel/File Photo
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Here are some facts about Buffett and Berkshire.
FACTS ABOUT WARREN EDWARD BUFFETT
Born: Aug. 30, 1930
Education: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Columbia Business School
Family: Buffett married his wife, Astrid Menks, on August 30, 2006, his 76th birthday. Buffett’s first wife Susan Thompson Buffett died in 2004. They had three children: Susan, Howard and Peter.
Net worth: $74.8 billion on April 29, 2020, ranking fourth worldwide. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos ranked first. Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) are working on a venture called Haven to lower employee healthcare costs. (Source: Forbes)
Berkshire ownership stake: 16.0% as of March 4, 2020
Berkshire voting power: 30.9% as of March 4, 2020
How Buffett took charge: In 1965, Buffett had planned to sell back his shares in Berkshire, then a struggling New England textile company, for $11.50 each. But he got angry when the term sheet showed a price of $11.375 per share. Buffett responded by buying all the shares he could, and won control of Berkshire on May 10, 1965. The textile business closed in 1985.
Famous Buffett quotation: “Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.” – Sept. 4, 1991 congressional testimony about Salomon Inc, where Buffett became interim chairman to restore order after a Treasury auction bidding scandal.
Philanthropy: Buffett has since 2006 donated more than $34.5 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities. His Berkshire stock will go to philanthropy after he dies. Bill Gates was a Berkshire director from 2004 to 2020.
Home: Buffett has lived in the same house on a well-trafficked Omaha street since 1958. The five-bedroom, 2-1/2-bath home on 0.72 acres was assessed at $1,059,700 in 2020. (Source: Douglas County, Nebraska)
Diet: Likes steaks, and eats candies from See’s, which Berkshire owns. Estimates that one-fourth of his calories come from Coca-Cola, a longtime Berkshire investment.
Buffett, a Democrat, on his politics: “I’m a card-carrying capitalist.” (2019 annual meeting)
Buffett, looking back: “We’ve had so much good luck in life. It sort of blows your mind. Starting with being born in the United States. And Canada would be fine too, incidentally. I don’t want to offend anybody.” (2019 annual meeting)
FACTS ABOUT BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY
Leadership: Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer; Charlie Munger, Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain, vice chairmen; Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, investment managers
2019 net income: $81.42 billion, including $56.27 billion of investment gains
2019 operating income: $23.97 billion
2019 revenue: $254.62 billion
2019 share repurchases: $5 billion
Cash, equivalents and Treasury bills: $128 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018
Stock price: $284,749 per Class A share as of April 29, 2020. Widely held Class B shares are worth about 1/1,500th as much.
Market value: about $461 billion as of April 29, 2020
Compounded annual changes from 1965-2019: stock price: 20.3%; S&P 500 including dividends: 10.0% (pre-tax)
Float (insurance premiums collected before claims are paid, which help fund investments): $129.4 billion as of year-end
Selected business units: Benjamin Moore, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, BNSF, Borsheims Fine Jewelry, Brooks, Business Wire, Clayton Homes, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, General Re, HomeServices of America, IMC International Metalworking, International Dairy Queen, Johns Manville, Lubrizol, Marmon, McLane, National Indemnity, Nebraska Furniture Mart, NetJets, Oriental Trading, Pampered Chef, Precision Castparts, See’s Candies
Selected acquisitions (larger amounts rounded to nearest billion): See’s Candies, $25 million (1972); Geico, $2.3 billion (1996); Dairy Queen, $590 million (1998); General Re, $16 billion (1998); NetJets, $725 million (1998); Clayton Homes, $1.7 billion (2003); PacifiCorp, $5 billion (2006); Marmon, $4.5 billion (2008); Burlington Northern Santa Fe, $27 billion (2010); Lubrizol, $9 billion (2011); NV Energy, $6 billion (2013); H.J. Heinz, $12 billion (majority stake, 2013); Van Tuyl, $4.1 billion (2015); Precision Castparts, $32 billion (2016), Pilot Flying J, $2.8 billion (38.6% stake, 2017). (Sources: Barclays Capital, Berkshire)
Major stock investments: American Express, Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, Wells Fargo.
Buffett on acquisitions: “The opportunities to make major acquisitions possessing our required attributes are rare. Far more often, a fickle stock market serves up opportunities for us to buy large, but non-controlling, positions in publicly-traded companies that meet our standards. (Shareholder letter, Feb. 22, 2020)
Buffett on stock buybacks: “Over time, we want Berkshire’s share count to go down. If the price-to-value discount (as we estimate it) widens, we will likely become more aggressive in purchasing shares. We will not, however, prop the stock at any level.” (Shareholder letter, Feb. 22, 2020)
Employees at year-end: 391,539
Employees in main office: 26, including Buffett
Succession: Buffett, 89, and Munger, 96, have not publicly signaled any plans to retire. Berkshire’s board plans to quickly install a new CEO when Buffett retires, cannot continue or dies.
Possible CEO successors: Abel, 57, and Jain, 68, have since January 2018 had day-to-day oversight of Berkshire’s non-insurance and insurance units, respectively. Buffett and Munger handle major capital allocation decisions and investments.
Other possible successors: Combs and Weschler may succeed Buffett as chief investment officer. Combs has since January 2020 also been Geico’s chief executive, but according to Buffett likely not for the long term. Buffett’s eldest son Howard is expected to become Berkshire’s non-executive chairman.
Annual meeting attendance: 12 (1965), about 24 (1979), 1,000 (1986), 4,100 (1995), 7,700 (1997), 13,000 (2000), 21,000 (2005), 42,000 (2015, Buffett’s 50th anniversary). (Sources: Omaha World-Herald, Berkshire, Reuters)
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane Craft