Saturday, May 01, 2010
Buffett to SEC: “You Have No Case!”
The Berkshire meeting is over. Shareholders have given Buffett and his vice-chairman, Charlie Munger, a standing ovation. And now the parties start.
The ovation is for many aspects of Buffett’s stewardship of Berkshire Hathaway, but mainly it seems his “all-in wager” on the American economy—the purchase of Burlington Northern—looks like it’s already paying off.
The economic pickup that “looked spotty” just a few months ago, Buffett has told us, is picking up steam: rail cars in use are up dramatically. And Berkshire is “net, hiring.”
But the show-stopper came early on, “at the top,” as they say in show business—speaking of which, what was George Lucas doing in the Berkshire director’s section before the meeting began?—when Buffett defended Goldman Sachs…and forcefully.
No, Buffett didn’t actually say to the SEC, “You have no case,” but neither did Gerald Ford actually say to New York, “Drop Dead!”
And yet both men might as well.
Carol Loomis asked the Goldman question right out of the gate, without mincing words—reminding Buffett of his famous, and often-repeated “lose a shred of reputation and I will be ruthless” video from the Salomon Brothers days—and Buffett responded without mincing words.
To be continued…
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Posted by Jeff Matthews at 7:17 PM