For people with brains. And an internet connection
25 May 2017 01:14 (South Africa)

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

  • Andy Rice
    andy rice
    Andy Rice

    Andy Rice is a founding partner of Yellowwood Future Architects, a marketing strategy consultancy. In his other lives, he is the southern hemisphere's only supporter of Cambridge United Football Club, and was once upon a time the South African National Spoofing Champion. He has played football at Wembley and cricket at Lord's within the same weekend, but troubled the scorer on neither occasion. Things could only go up from here.

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.

  • Andy Rice
    andy rice
    Andy Rice

    Andy Rice is a founding partner of Yellowwood Future Architects, a marketing strategy consultancy. In his other lives, he is the southern hemisphere's only supporter of Cambridge United Football Club, and was once upon a time the South African National Spoofing Champion. He has played football at Wembley and cricket at Lord's within the same weekend, but troubled the scorer on neither occasion. Things could only go up from here.

Get overnight news and latest Daily Maverick articles






Do Not Miss