Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett visits the exhibit floor in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, where company subsidiaries display their products during the annual shareholders meeting.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. He offered thoughts and insights on everything from Republicans voting to repeal Obamacare, to the Wells Fargo scandal, to how artificial intelligence and technology might reshape America. Here are some highlights:
Repealing Obamacare is “a huge tax cut for guys like me”
When asked about the bill Republicans in Congress just voted to pass to repeal and replace Obamacare, Buffett signaled his distaste for a tax cut provision. Obamacare pays for health care for Americans in part by taxing wealthier people. The Republican bill scraps that tax on the wealthy.
And Buffett has apparently done the math here. If the Republican bill had been law last year, he said, “my federal taxes would have gone down 17 percent last year, so it’s a huge tax cut for guys like me.”
“That is in the law that was passed a couple days ago,” he added. “Anybody with $250,000 a year of adjusted gross income and a lot of investment income is going to have a huge tax cut.”
In the past, Buffett has bristled at tax policy that he sees as favoring the wealthy — famously saying it’s not fair that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway on Wednesday said it withdrew its application to the Federal Reserve to boost its ownership stake in Wells Fargoabove 10 percent, and is instead selling 9 million shares to keep it below that threshold.
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, -0.27%) said it concluded after several months of talks with Fed officials that “the commitments that would be required of us” to maintain a higher stake “would materially restrict our commercial activity with Wells Fargo.”
It also said “investment or valuation considerations” were not factors in the sale of the 9 million shares, which it began on Monday and expects to complete by early July.
Berkshire is the largest shareholder in San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (WFC, -1.92%), which has been beset by a scandal since September over its creation of unauthorized customer accounts.
The bank on Monday said it would claw back an additional $75 million of compensation from the executives it blamed most, former CEO John Stumpf and former community banking chief Carrie Tolstedt.
Despite the scandal, Wells Fargo shares have, like shares of many banks, rallied in recent months, gaining 16.6 percent since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in November.
Warren Buffett in 2015 PHOTO: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS
Warren Buffett has a message for presidential candidates and others who are down on the U.S. economy: You are “dead wrong.”
In his annual letter to shareholders released Saturday, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reaffirmed his confidence in the future of the country, saying that America’s “golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs.”
Mr. Buffett took issue with politicians he said are leading Americans to believe that their children will be worse off than they are. “That view is dead wrong,” he wrote. “The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”
The 85-year-old billionaire, who often describes his investment holding period as “forever,” is again taking the long view.
Mr. Buffett wrote that since his birth in 1930, real gross domestic product—the standard measure of economic output adjusted for inflation—has grown a “staggering” six times on a per-capita basis. He added that even at the current growth rate of 2%, which has caused concern among some economists, GDP will outpace population growth over the next quarter century and lead to a 34.4% gain, or $19,000 per capita.
All about the latest edition of Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders.
Source: Warren Buffett Shareholder Letter, 2015 – Business Insider
Jason Reed/ReutersWarren Buffett
(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is nearing an agreement to buy Precision Castparts, in what could be the company’s largest purchase ever, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The purchase of Precision Castparts, which makes aircraft components and energy-production equipment, could be announced as soon as next week and cost more than $30 billion, assuming typical premiums for mergers, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. Precision Castparts’ market value was $26.7 billion on Friday.
Neither Berkshire nor Precision Castparts returned calls and emails seeking comment.
Berkshire is one of Precision Castparts’ largest shareholders, with a roughly 3 percent stake worth $882 million as of March 31, according to securities filings.
Though it began building that stake in 2012, it remains among the smaller investments in Berkshire’s portfolio. Such investments are normally picked by Buffett’s investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.
The addition of Precision Castparts would extend Buffett’s decade-long push into the industrial sector, where he has bought such companies as parts maker Marmon, Israeli toolmaker Iscar, and specialty chemicals company Lubrizol.