Warren Buffett said recent reports of a bribery scandal at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (WMT) Mexico operations haven't altered his view of investing in the retailer, he told CNBC in an interview.
Buffett said that he has always held that in general, someone at larger corporations is always doing something wrong, and that the company's job is to get the issue corrected.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA, BRKB) held a 1.1% Wal-Mart stake as of Dec. 31.
Buffett, in an extended interview, touched on a host of topics, including a mention stemming from the disclosure over the weekend that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA, BRKA) had come close to a $22 billion acquisition. Buffett again declined to identify the target, but told CNBC that he could not rule out the possibility of revisiting the transaction. Buffett said the two companies could not agree on terms.
As for Berkshire, Buffett said most companies continue on a slow pace of improvement. Buffett, asked if he was satisfied with Berkshire's investment in Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), was more coy, saying that the company has had some pricing issues but then adding that Berkshire remains a long-term holder of the stock. Asked if he might consider selling the stock, Buffett said it was "weaselly" of him, but he would only be willing to reiterate that he is a long-term holder. Buffett was critical of himself, too. His investment in ConocoPhillips (COP) was a mistake, he said, adding that he may have overpaid for the stock.
Asked if he is concerned about the performance of Berkshire stock, Buffett brushed that aside, saying that stocks in general always will go through periods of being over-priced and under-priced. Stocks in general, he said, are still the most attractive buy for U.S. investors. The U.S. dollar, he reiterated, is a better investment than other currencies.
Buffett also repeated comments from the weekend that he has not suffered from any symptoms of his prostate cancer and that it hasn't caused any change in his life.
Buffett, asked for his reaction to weekend elections in Europe, said results will not affect Berkshire's decisions. He said the euro zone faces "really tough problems" but will resolve them over time. The U.S., he added, is on a different path after having addressed problems in the domestic banking system. Those same problems in Europe, he said, have yet to be resolved.
On the political front, of presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Buffett said he had "no fault" with him as a business person.
Full story at: www.cnbc.com/id/47319354
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