International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) greatly disappointed Wall Street with this morning’s earnings report. The fact that the company is paying GlobalFoundries up front just to take its chip business off its hands can’t help either.
Does Warren Buffett still like IBM?
After a past weak earnings report from IBM, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC that he still liked the company. As of the end of June, regulatory reports indicated that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) owned approximately 70.2 million shares.
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Assuming his firm still owns about the same number of shares, IBM cost Buffett approximately $1.06 billion due to this morning’s nosedive, reports CNBC. Of course that’s really just pocket change for Buffett and his massive conglomerate, but it’s still noteworthy.
So the big question now is whether Buffett still likes IBM. As of the end of June, IBM was Buffett’s third biggest after Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)
IBM CEO “honored” to have Buffett as an investor
In an interview on CNBC this morning, IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said they’re “honored” to have Buffett as a shareholder and that they have a number of “great long term shareholders.” She has apparently had some conversations with Buffett and those other long term shareholders as well.
The executive said that although she wouldn’t share any specifics about what they have talked about, she believes that Buffett values what many of their long term shareholders also value. She listed a number of viewpoints Buffett and their other long term shareholders seem to agree on:
“Manage for the long term. Don’t do anything that is not right just to make a quarter, and of course don’t keep revenue that’s ’empty calories,’ as he would say, and at the end of the day, this is about returning value to shareholders.”
IBM CEO explains third quarter miss
Rometty also provided more details about why IBM’s earnings miss was so bad. She noted that part of their Services business is very “price competitive.” She also said their plans to automate their service delivery must speed up and that while they saw good results from their outsourcing efforts, some of the transition times took too long.
In IBM’s Software segment, she mentioned execution and flexibility for their customers. In addition, she said there was an unexpected slowdown in business in September, which she is treating as an operational issue, as it will be some time if it’s discovered that the issue is macroeconomic. She admitted that their September quarter was disappointing but vowed to make improvements going forward.
“Our third quarter is a disappointment,” Rometty told CNBC. “I should circle back. Make no mistake, and I don’t minimize that. Although it is a point in time, it is a disappointment to us. We’re going to take bold action about that quarter and then bold actions as we continue to move to the future.”