(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people will descend on Omaha, Nebraska this weekend for the annual shareholder weekend for Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRKa.N, the conglomerate that billionaire Warren Buffett has run since 1965.
Buffett calls the three-day weekend, the largest corporate gathering in the United States, “Woodstock for Capitalists.” It features shopping discounts, a five-kilometer run, the takeover of a shopping mall for a cocktail reception, and Berkshire’s annual meeting on May 5, broadcast on Yahoo Finance.
FACTS ABOUT WARREN BUFFETT
Birth date: August 30, 1930
Education: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Columbia Business School
Net worth: $83.6 billion on May 1, 2018, ranking fourth worldwide. Microsoft Corp MSFT.O co-founder Bill Gates, a Berkshire director since 2004, ranked second. Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, whose company is working with Berkshire and JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N to lower employee healthcare costs, is first. (Source: Forbes)
Berkshire ownership stake: 17.2 percent as of March 7, 2018
Berkshire voting power: 32.0 percent as of March 7, 2018
Buffett’s control of Berkshire: Berkshire took control of Berkshire on May 10, 1965. He had planned to sell back his shares in what was then a struggling textile company for $11.50 each. But he was angered when the term sheet showed a price of just $11.375 per share, and instead bought all the shares he could. The textile business closed in 1985.
Famous Buffett quotation: “Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.” - Sept. 4, 1991 Congressional testimony about Salomon Inc, where Buffett became interim chairman to restore order after a Treasury auction bidding scandal.
Current wife: Astrid Menks, married on August 30, 2006
First wife: Susan, who died in 2004
Children: Susan, Howard and Peter
Philanthropy: Buffett has since 2006 donated roughly $27.6 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities. His Berkshire stock will go to philanthropy after he dies.
Home: Has lived in the same house since 1958. The 97-year-old five-bedroom, 2-1/2-bath home on 0.72 acres was assessed at $747,300 in 2018. (Source: Douglas County, Nebraska)
Diet: “If you told me that I would live one year longer ... if I’d eat nothing but broccoli and asparagus and everything my Aunt Alice wanted me to eat all my life, or I would eat everything I enjoyed eating including chocolate sundaes and Coca-Cola and steak and hash browns, you know, I would rather eat in a way I enjoy for my whole life than eat some other way and live another year.” (2017 annual meeting)
FACTS ABOUT BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY
-Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer
-Charlie Munger, Gregory Abel and Ajit Jain, vice chairmen
-Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, investment managers
Net income: $44.94 billion (2017), including $29.11 billion attributable to U.S. tax overhaul
Operating income: $14.46 billion (2017)
Revenue: $242.14 billion (2017)
Cash, equivalents and Treasury bills: $116 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017
Market value: about $481 billion as of May 1, 2018
Stock price: $292,580 per Class A share as of May 1, 2018. Widely-held Class B shares are worth about 1/1,500th as much.
Compounded annual changes from 1965-2017:
-Book value per share: 19.1 percent
-Stock price: 20.9 percent
-S&P 500 including dividends: 9.9 percent (pre-tax)
Float (insurance premiums collected before claims are paid, which helps fund investments): $114.5 billion as of year-end
Selected business units: Benjamin Moore, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, BNSF, Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry, Brooks, Business Wire, Clayton Homes, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, General Re, HomeServices of America, IMC International Metalworking, International Dairy Queen, Johns Manville, Lubrizol, Marmon, McLane, National Indemnity, Nebraska Furniture Mart, NetJets, Oriental Trading, Pampered Chef, Precision Castparts, See’s Candies.
Selected acquisitions (larger amounts rounded to nearest billion): See’s Candies, $25 million (1972); Geico, $2.3 billion (1996); Dairy Queen, $590 million (1998); General Re, $16 billion (1998); NetJets, $725 million (1998); Clayton Homes, $1.7 billion (2003); PacifiCorp, $5 billion (2006); Marmon, $4.5 billion (2008); Burlington Northern Santa Fe, $27 billion (2010); Lubrizol, $9 billion (2011); NV Energy, $6 billion (2013); H.J. Heinz, $12 billion (majority stake, 2013); Van Tuyl, $4.1 billion (2015); Precision Castparts, $32 billion (2016), Pilot Flying J, $2.8 billion (38.6 percent stake, 2017). (Sources: Barclays Capital, Berkshire)
Buffett on acquisitions: “Berkshire’s goal is to substantially increase the earnings of its non-insurance group. For that to happen, we will need to make one or more huge acquisitions.” (Annual shareholder letter, Feb. 24, 2018)
Major stock investments: American Express, Apple, Coca-Cola, Kraft Heinz, Wells Fargo.
Employees at year-end: 377,291
Employees in main office: 26, including Buffett
Year Buffett met Munger: 1959
Munger’s influence: Buffett has credited Munger, like him an admirer of famed value investor Benjamin Graham, with pushing him to seek out wonderful companies at fair prices, rather than fair companies at wonderful prices. “There’s nothing like the pain of being in a lousy business to make you appreciate a good one.” (2017 annual meeting)
Succession: Buffett, 87, and Munger, 94, have not publicly signaled any plans to retire. Berkshire’s board plan to quickly install a new CEO when Buffett retires, cannot continue or dies.
Possible CEO successors: Abel, 55, who led Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and Jain, 66, a veteran insurance executive, in January assumed day-to-day oversight of Berkshire’s non-insurance and insurance units, respectively. Buffett and Munger still handle major capital allocation decisions and investments.
Other possible successors: Combs and Weschler, who together recently managed $25 billion, may succeed Buffett as chief investment officer. Buffett’s eldest son Howard is expected to become non-executive chairman, and preserve Berkshire’s culture. Tracy Britt Cool, 33, chairs several Berkshire units and is chief executive of Pampered Chef.
Attendance at annual meetings: 12 (1965), about 24 (1979), 1,000 (1986), 4,100 (1995), 7,700 (1997), 13,000 (2000), 21,000 (2005), 42,000 (2015). (Sources: Omaha World-Herald, Berkshire, Reuters)
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Nick Zieminski
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