Friday, March 13, 2009

Dang Le: Notes from Buffett's Meeting Feb 2009

Note: Students from Emory and 5 other business schools were invited to come visit Mr. Buffett for a Q&A session. These notes were reproduced to the best of my ability as I heard and as I could recall them from a collection of mine and other students' notes. There is no guarantee that this was exactly what was said, but the intent was to preserve the spirit of the message. Enjoy.

Did you hear they called off the Wall Street Christmas Pageant this year? They had trouble finding three wise men…and a virgin. There are many opportunities right now. The markets are very inefficient at times, and this is one of those times.

Berkshire has invested in several insurance companies, would you go into the health insurance business?

No. Health insurance is so ingrained into national policy that it is a tough business. It’s pretty adversarial. I’m not really that excited about it from a business perspective. I don’t want to write policies with high loan loss ratios. That being said, I would buy the stock of an undervalued healthcare insurer.

Insurance is an interesting business. You know, we underwrote a two year life insurance policy on Mike Tyson. I wanted an exclusion against women shooting him, but they wouldn’t let me.

South Dakota:
You’ve recently invested in Goldman Sachs and GE. Is the financial sector a good buy right now?

No sector is a good buy unless you understand the business. However, I do believe that there is good value and great opportunity now in the financial sector because it is extremely unpopular. Sector’s themselves don’t make good buys, companies that are undervalued make good buys. You know how to value a business, you project the future cash flows discounted to present and buy with a margin of safety. The earnings prospects need to be greater than the current value. Anything that is unpopular is always great to look at. If I was getting out of school right now, I would take a look.

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