Saturday was the annual meeting for Berkshire Hathaway and 91-year old CEO Warren Buffett gave the tens of thousands of shareholders present in Omaha a few details of how he spent more than $50 billion dollars earlier this year.
The billionaire also again reassured them that the company he built will endure long after he is gone.
Berkshire’s mountain of cash shrank from $147-billion at the beginning of the year to $106-billion at the end of the 1st quarter.
Buffett didn’t reveal everything he bought during that time, but did mention several highlights including boosting Berkshire’s stake in oil giant Chevron to $26 billion to make it one of Berkshire’s four biggest investments.
Buffett has occasionally spoken out over the years on public issues, but said Saturday that he’s decided to “back off” because his comments can sometimes hurt some Berkshire businesses and their employees if customers react with boycotts.
He also strongly opposed bitcoin, saying “it doesn’t produce anything. … People attach magic to a lot of things. You can make up things that work well and get money from other people.”
Buffett said if someone offered to sell him 1% of all the farmland or 1% of all apartments in the U0S for $25 billion dollars, he’d take the deal but if someone offered to sell him all the bitcoin for $25, “I wouldn’t do it.”
Not everyone attending the Berkshire Hathaway meeting was pleased with Buffett, but a proposal to take away Buffett’s second title as chairman was easily defeated.
Members of the 2 largest unions at BH-owned Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad protested outside the meeting over new personnel rules they say essentially puts them on-call 24/7.