Whitney Tilson is at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) ( NYSE:BRK.B) annual meeting. His wife got to ask Warren Buffett a question during the Q&A and he also has updated his thesis on the company and believes it is worth $193,500 a share. Below is a summary from Tilson which we received via email.
I’m in Omaha at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) ( NYSE:BRK.B) annual meeting (my 15th in a row) and, as always, am having a lot of fun catching up with old friends, making new ones, and of course learning from Buffett and Munger.
There are no unhappy shareholders here, as the stock hit an all-time high on Friday – and then Berkshire reported blowout earnings after the close: book value up 5.5% during the quarter and operating earnings up 36% year-over-year. My estimate of intrinsic value has now moved up to $193,500, as reflected in my slide presentation (attached), which I just finished updating (it includes a couple of new slides from this week’s Nomura report on Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) ( NYSE:BRK.B).
My wife is out here with me for the first time – and asked the following question (which got more audience applause than all of my questions over the years put together!):
“Hi, my name is Susan Tilson and I am from New York City. I am a longtime shareholder, but this is my first time in Omaha – this is quite the little gathering you’ve got going on here.
My question is this: Just a few minutes ago, Warren Buffett, you mentioned the advantages that you have enjoyed by being male. I have three daughters, and I want them to be able to go as far as their aspirations and hard work take them. I have noticed and applaud the fact that you have added a number of women to Berkshire’s board, but Berkshire’s board and senior management still reflect the reality that in 2013, very few women hold the top jobs in corporate America. Do you see this as a problem and, if so, what should be done about it?”
Warren Buffett really engaged in the question and in his opening sentence referred to an essay he published this past week in Fortune (below), and his subsequent remarks reflected what he wrote, especially the part about Katharine Graham. There was lots more applause after he finished.
Here’s what one blogger wrote:
Susan Tilson, who identifies herself as a Berkshire shareholder (and is married to hedge fund manager and Buffett devotee Whitney Tilson) asks Mr. Buffett about opportunities for women.
Mr. Buffett, who recently penned an essay on the topic for Fortune, says that while a lot has improved for women, much more progress needs to be made. He has said that he is a fan of “Lean In,” the recent treatise by Facebook president Sheryl Sandberg.
“They’re crumbling to a very significant degree, and they should,” Mr. Buffett says of the obstacles facing women’s advancement.
“The country has come a long way,” he adds. “It continues to move in the right direction, but I hope it continues to move faster.”