Ackman ever been on opposite side of a trade as WEB? Munger said VRX was a deeply immoral company. I would argue that Coca-Cola has been funding obesity. They cause an enormous damage to society. They should stop promoting sugar water to children.
Seth Klarman: We don’t overlap that much. Is Berkshire Hathaway because of Warren? The nature of insurance has allowed him to create a fortress. If It was John Q Public it would be very different. The BRK model wouldn’t work because of trust, confidence, regulators. Conglomerates do not have a great history. Whether there’s a capital allocator after him -very complicated and hard. No one talent – you need investors, capital allocators, risk & insurance guys, etc.
Bill Ackman: part of WEB has attracted the right shareholders, he has superb communication skills. On the right side of politics. When you have a profitable company, you become a target of politicians. Because he’s a fabulous communicator.
Seth Klarman: Reassurance that though the world is volatile outside of Berkshire Hathaway, BRK is stable.
Bill Ackman: Berkshire Hathaway has avoided regulatory scrutiny despite hugely profitable business – look at GOOG, AAPL, etc.
SK: Human beings have to do with all kinds of things, and the best and luckiest get through with flying colors. His motives were shown to be pure and that’s why he always got through it. All investors that build a firm have a build-centric model. Berkshire Hathaway is a Warren-centric model. Will successor be able to continue that?
IS it remotely possible that his successors can have those skills? BA: yes. My guess is, there’s a huge opportunity to improve operations that Berkshire Hathaway has bought over time.
Seth Klarman: business is getting an increasingly bad name. WS behavior around new products… Shkreli: May be legal but never the right thing to do. If 3G is an exemplary company firing people, there’s a social cost. I wonder whether any successor will face a more constrained environment whether cutting people or raising prices.
Bill Ackman: why has Buffett been able to avoid regulation? He’s made millions of people rich and given away all his wealth. Hard to criticize for that. He’s beyond reproach. Success makes you become a target. Not sure the next CEO gets the same pass.
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