The sage of Omaha’s biggest mistake: buying Berkshire Hathaway

By Andy Rice 19 October 2010

In a taped interview with CNBC, Warren Buffett said that his biggest investment blunder was buying into Berkshire Hathaway, back then a textile company. We'll give you a moment to collect your jaw from the floor. Buffett said that he bought a controlling stock in the company in 1964 because he was pissed off with management, a move which saddled him with Berkshire's costly textile holdings. The textile side of Berkshire never paid off, and Buffett eventually unloaded the textile assets in 1985. Today, Buffett (who just happens to be the world's third-richest person) uses Berkshire as his holding company, controlling over $54 billion and 70 subsidiary companies. “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks,” Buffett said, proving that even for the Oracle of Omaha, vengeful action is unprofitable.

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