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With $116 billion cash, Buffett says Berkshire needs 'huge' deals
02 March 2018, 03:27 | Lionel James
The Oracle of Omaha as Buffett is popularly known has once again beat the S&P 500. Image source Reuters
"I want to quickly acknowledge that in any upcoming day, week or even year, stocks will be riskier - far riskier - than short-term US bonds", he wrote.
"Berkshire's gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion, which increased the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock by 23 percent", Buffett wrote in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that accompanied the company's annual report. As of this writing, Apple is Berkshire Hathaway's second-largest stock holding at $28.2 billion. The key qualities we seek are durable competitive strengths, able and high-grade management, good returns on the net tangible assets required to operate the business, opportunities for internal growth at attractive returns; and, finally, it should be available at a sensible purchase price.
Buffett also warned long-term investors including pension funds, college endowments and "savings-minded individuals" that even with U.S. stock prices near record highs, it would be a "terrible mistake" to assume bonds are safer.
'In the meantime, we will stick with our simple guideline: the less the prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own'.
He also leveled criticism at what he called the "can-do" type of Wall Street CEO, who he said can be over eager to justify gobbling up another company. Van Damme is also a board member of Anheuser-Busch Inbev and Restaurant Brands International. Buffett contrasts his "kindergarten-like" analysis to the amount research and trading that the hedge fund managers did.
It has been more than two years since Buffett made a major purchase, the $32.1 billion takeover of aircraft parts maker Precision Castparts Corp., and his advancing age gives him less time to find more of the "elephants" he prefers.
If the formula changes, Berkshire would buy back its stock at a higher price than the current formula allows.
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