Bingo for Buffettologists -- WSJ

Date : 05/04/2019 @ 8:02AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.A)
Quote : 274301.33  6347.33 (2.37%) @ 8:04PM

Bingo for Buffettologists -- WSJ

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
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Optimism about America. Criticism of hedge funds. Disparagement of vegetables. Play along as Berkshire's chairman hits on his favorite topics at his company's annual meeting.

By Nicole Friedman, Erik Holm and Kiersten Schmidt 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (May 4, 2019).

Warren Buffett has earned a reputation as the "Oracle of Omaha." But sometimes, even oracles repeat themselves.

When Mr. Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger take the stage at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual meeting Saturday, 88-year-old Mr. Buffett is likely to point to 95-year-old Mr. Munger and say " he can hear, and I can see."

He will almost certainly say he is confident about the future of America. He will be critical of hedge funds. He will confess that he doesn't like vegetables. And he will attribute some of his success to winning the " ovarian lottery," his way of describing the circumstances of his birth.

In part, Mr. Buffett repeats himself because he's asked variations of the same questions quite often. If you're asked about bitcoin everywhere you go, for example, it makes sense to have a pithy answer in your back pocket. (Last year, he called bitcoin "rat poison squared.")

For the tens of thousands who will attend the annual meeting in person, and the millions who will watch the livestream of the event remotely, we offer Berkshire Bingo. Click on the topics, turns of phrase and events on the board below as they happen.

Because they almost certainly will.

The highlighted squares are for some of the more newsworthy topics that could come up at the meeting. Scroll down for more information about them below the bingo board.

Here's more on the highlighted topics:

Wells Fargo's search for a new CEO. Wells Fargo & Co. is looking for a new chief executive after Tim Sloan stepped down from the top job in March, and because Berkshire is Wells's biggest shareholder, Mr. Buffett's opinion could hold a lot of weight. Mr. Buffett has been supportive of Wells in recent years despite its scandals. He told the Financial Times last month that he doesn't think the new CEO should come from a Wall Street bank.

Buying back more stock. Berkshire is holding more than $100 billion in cash and has struggled to find ways to spend it. Berkshire changed its buyback policy last year and has bought back more stock since then, but some shareholders are hoping he plans to repurchase much more.

What went wrong at Kraft Heinz. Kraft Heinz Co. was formed by Berkshire and private-equity firm 3G Capital when they merged their H.J. Heinz Co. with Kraft Foods Group Inc. in 2015. It's not looking like a great bet these days. Berkshire owns 27% of the food giant, and write-downs at Kraft Heinz weighed on Berkshire's 2018 earnings. Since then, Kraft Heinz has named a new CEO. Mr. Buffett is likely to be asked about what went wrong and what he expects to happen now.

What Berkshire will look like after Buffett. Succession is always a hot topic at Berkshire's annual meeting. Mr. Buffett is 88 years old, and some Berkshire watchers worry about the company's future after his death. Two vice chairmen -- Ajit Jain and Greg Abel -- are in the running to eventually take over for Mr. Buffett as Berkshire's CEO. Neither has spoken much at previous meetings.

Berkshire's performance vs S&P 500. Berkshire is famous for generating enormous returns for shareholders over its 54-year history. But in the last decade, Berkshire has underperformed the market, and some Berkshire watchers are wondering if the company's best days are behind it.

Berkshire's deal with Occidental Petroleum. Berkshire agreed this week to invest $10 billion in Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s bid to acquire Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Chevron Corp. also wants to buy Anadarko, and it's unusual for Berkshire to get involved in a bidding war.

Write to Nicole Friedman at and Erik Holm at

Read more of The Wall Street Journal's coverage of Berkshire Hathaway and its annual meeting.

Dinner with Charlie: The World According to Mr. Munger

Charlie Munger is a living reminder that to be a great investor, you must be a great learner. Warren Buffett's long-time business partner says one key to his success is that he's "good at destroying my own best-loved ideas."

Buffett Partner Charlie Munger Has a Side Gig: Designing College Dorms

The 95-year-old billionaire has many unusual ideas about architecture, and schools have to listen when he funds new buildings.

Warren Buffett's Empire, in 194,300 Square Feet

The billionaire's vast conglomerate includes everything from candy and carpets to railroads and running shoes. This weekend, they're all under one roof.

Berkshire Leaders Are Quietly Collaborating More Than Ever

An increase in communication among senior Berkshire leaders offers a glimpse at the future of the conglomerate when Warren Buffett no longer runs it.

Howard Buffett Looks Beyond an Oracle for Advice

The philanthropist/farmer/politician/author discusses his "personal board of directors," the group he turns to for guidance. They include a former senator, a former Coke executive, a nonprofit executive, and his dad, famed investor Warren Buffett.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2019 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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