With Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting taking place this weekend, some random thoughts come to mind.
I've never attended one of these, but I'm sure they're a blast.
I wonder, though, if the truly long-time Berkshire shareholders feel sort of like the fans of a rock band who they used to see in small clubs and other venues. Then the band gets really, really big and seeing their favorite act means "sharing" the experience with massive crowds in huge arenas. Though I'm not denying Buffett's and Munger's investment wit and wisdom surely deserves as large an audience as possible.
I've read that this weekend's gathering is, at least in part, being carried live by CNBC and the Fox Business Network (I don't know about Bloomberg).
I remember when I first subscribed to Outstanding Investor Digest in 1991, it was one of the few, if not only, publication running lengthy transcripts of the Q&A session. I don't remember the financial media giving the Berkshire meeting much coverage, let alone the general press. OID's coverage of the meeting was really a competitive advantage for the publication, but I can't imagine it is any longer. (I stress that OID remains a great publication for value investors, but its publication schedule is lousy.)
In picking stocks, investors have hits and misses. Then they have those stocks they missed by not buying. That was certainly the case with Berkshire Hathaway at the height of the Internet bubble. Reading and seeing second- and third-rate investors putting down Buffett was clearly the bell ringing in hindsight. And it shouldn't have taken hindsight to see that.
I haven't looked at the company closely lately, but my impression is that Berkshire is more or less trading at roughly fair value. I've got a few names on my dance card I'm thinking about buying -- but Berkshire isn't among them. Maybe I'll look back and regret that, too.
Anyway, if any of you reading this are heading out or in transit to Omaha, have a safe journey there and back.
And a great time in between.
Joe over at The Stalwart is going, and I'll be sure to read his thoughts about the gathering. He has a consistently interesting take on various topics and, while I don't know if he's a value player or not, getting his perspective on the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting sounds more than worthwhile.