Berkshire Hathaway 2022 AGMBrian Langis
For the first time since 2019, Berkshire Hathaway had their AGM in person. You don’t just make the trip to Omaha to simply listen to Munger and Buffett. CNBC broadcast the meeting and you can catch it on Youtube.
So why go?
“It really feels good to get back and be doing this in person. It’s been three years. And it’s a lot better seeing actual shareholders, owners, partners… …I mean, for example, if we had a manager someplace that was 98, I might want to send somebody by occasionally to see whether he was cutting paper dolls or something. We probably do things that are a lot more foolish than cutting out paper dolls, but we’re having a lot of fun doing it. And we really have a lot of fun when you come visit us.”
–Warren Buffett, 4/30/2022
It’s good to go check on if the top two person in charge are still alive.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are mentors and role models. Not just in investments, but also on how to be live your life. They truly treat shareholders as partners. They have been extremely successful and have a lot to share. You try to learn from people like that.
Going to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway AGM feels a little bit like going to church or to a rock concert. You get hit with wisdom and when you leave you have an energetic buzz feel that you carry with you. You have to be there. If you have been, you know what I’m talking about. If you have never been, you need to go. It’s the difference between watching a rock concert live and on Youtube. It’s the same music, but two totally different experiences. When you mix the energy + the people + the ambiance you get a great experience. Listening to Buffett and Munger for a few hours leaves you more calibrated, a clearer mind, and feeling good.
The AGM is much more than another shareholder meeting. Anyone who has been would tell you that. An investing ecosystem has been built around the AGM. There are numerous events, panels, cocktails meetings, dinners etc…basically networking and learning. You try to soak in as much as you can.
The best was meeting old friends and making new ones. Omaha is the de facto place to meet like minded investors. It’s where everyone gathers. If you are a serious investor or want to learn more, it’s a good trip to make.
The vibe this year was great. It’s great every year. But this year was a little extra. I think it has to do with the fact that the AGM wasn’t in person for the last two year. So it was great to be there in person.
As for the takeaways, you can find comprehensive reports on the AGM with a quick search. Warren, at 91, remains super sharp. But he was a little slower in his answers this year. He has reminiscent of the past and rambling a bit. It’s just an observation. If I’m that sharp at 60 I’m taking a victory lap. Good meeting overall, here are some of the key points:
- Berkshire bought $51 billion of stock in the first quarter. That includes a lot Chevron and Occidental Petroleum. When everyone is selling, they are buying.
- Occidental Petroleum: They bought 14% in two weeks! Basically because of the gambling culture.
- Charlie said that they preferred owning stocks than Treasuries as a reason for the massive purchases.
- Charlie Munger calls criticism of Buffett as chair and CEO ‘ridiculous’. And it is.
- BRK went from having $147b in cash to $100b. They are not hurting. Part of the problem with the high cash pile is the lack of investment opportunities over the years. But Q1 investments had to be the biggest investment in a while.
- $148b in float, and growing.
- BRK has been busy buying itself. Share repurchase of 10% over the last year and so. But buybacks slowed down in Q1-2022.
- BRK is buying Alleghany Corp for $11.6b, poised to be Berkshire’s biggest acquisition in six years. Buffett told us the back story how the deal came together. It started when he got an email from the CEO asking him to read his letter.
- Big arbitrage play on Activision-Blizzard. Owns about 9.5% of ATVI. Very confident that the transaction will close.
- Buffett bought more Apple. Would have added more if the stock hasn’t rebounded.
- I think I saw Ajit Jain sleep for at least a good 20 minutes.
- Inflation swindles everyone. The best hedge is to invest in yourself. You want to increase your personal earning power. Businesses that doesn’t require a lot of capital might have an advantage.
- Buffett & Munger ripped Bitcoin, Robinhood and the casino culture of the stock market.
- There were new stories I think haven’t been told before. Like when he went to Vegas and the “$170m floating “plug” in the books” when he was at Salomon. Thank god they didn’t rehash the See’s Candies story.
- See Candie’s broke their record for sales at the convention center. I think they sold over 15 tons of candies.
- Like always they took a couple shots at the usual suspects: Fund managers, consultants, index fund managers that are activist investors, investment bankers, politicians, Wall Street, Bitcoin, GAAP rules.
- Notable: Tim Cook was checking on his biggest investor, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon was around “visiting bank branches”, Bill Murray, Glenn Close, Dan Gilbert, Bobby Kotick also checking on his biggest investor, Mario Gabelli and Bill Ackman.