Questions For The Berkshire Hathaway Annual MeetingSubmitted by Castlebar Asset Management on May 1st, 2014
The 2014 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting takes place this weekend in Omaha. Warren Buffet refers to it as Woodstock for Capitalist. It brings a motley crew of longtime Berkshire shareholders, Wall Street analysts and my wife together for an interesting event that is like no other shareholder meeting in the world. You can read my thoughts on last year’s meeting here.
One of the highlights of the meeting for shareholders (outside of shopping) is when Warren and Charlie Munger take questions from shareholders and select media members. Questions have ranged all of over the spectrum through the years. It made me think, what would l ask Warren and Charlie if I had to chance this weekend. I broke my questions down into timely questions and timeless questions.
There has been a number of deals over the past few years that have seen US companies shift their domicile overseas to avoid the US taxes on overseas income. Pfizer’s proposed purchase of AstraZeneca is a recent example. How would they address this to avoid having some of America’s blue chip companies move overseas?
Warren is quoted,
“The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.”
The commercial airline industry has seen significant consolidation over the past decade. Would they reconsider their stance now that the airline industry is developing a track record of profitability?
There are some pundits saying that stocks, or at least some technology stocks, are in a bubble. What signs do they look for to see if an asset class is experiencing a bubble?
With the broad portfolio of businesses Berkshire owns do they believe that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of over regulation both in the US and internationally? Where do they see regulation moving over the next five years?
In 2012, Warren first discussed that Berkshire is elephant hunting, or looking to purchase huge companies like Burlington Northern Sante Fe and Heinz with their massive and growing cash position. It is speculated that Berkshire could be a buyer of Kellogg. Do they feel they have tipped their hand causing certain companies who would be a good fit for Berkshire to be bid up?
What TV show are they watching? Andrew’s note: Why not ask it? They may love Game of Thrones.
What is their biggest regret or missed opportunity in business?
Warren has said that Chapters 8 and 20 of the Intelligent Investor serve as the bedrock of his investing activities. What book outside of the Intelligent Investor would they recommend investors read?
What is the last non-business book they have read?
If you are able to get a spot at the microphone this weekend, feel free to borrow a question! What would you ask Warren and Charlie given the opportunity?
Disclaimer: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Castlebar owns Berkshire Hathaway shares for clients. We may change our holdings at any time.