Liberty’s John Malone Outperformed Warren Buffet Over Last Eight Years

You might be surprised who’s actually king of the investing hill. A thought-provoking report from The Edge Consulting Group published on January 3rd points out that cable king John Malone’s Liberty Media empire has actually outperformed “the Oracle of Omaha’s” Berkshire Hathaway since mid-2006 on a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) basis.

The Edge Consulting Group is a London-based financial consultancy that analyzed the investment performance of the companies controlled by the two legendary stock gurus.

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Buffett wins early years in close match

The first period analyzed by The Edge stretches 1973 to 1998, and covers Malone’s as CEO of  Tele-Communications Inc. The two and half decade period came to an end with AT&T purchase of TCI for $60 billion.

Through his Berkshire Hathaway holding company, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and team managed an impressive CAGR of 31.1% over the 25 years.

For the same period, Malone’s TCI put up a stellar CAGR of 30.3%, a superlative performance, but coming in just behind Buffett.

John Malone tops Buffett over last 8.5 years

The second period runs from mid-2006 through the end of 2014. The Edge calculates that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway earned a CAGR of 10.5% for this second tracking period.

The Edge notes that all the financial engineering undertaken by John Malone makes it difficult to come up with a definitive CAGR for Liberty. Therefore, the analysts at The Edge decided to take a closer look at the two entities under the Liberty umbrella, Starz and Liberty Global. The analysts determined have that the two enterprises have produced CAGRs of 39.4% and 17.5%, respectively, for the period.

Also of note (and putting the issue to rest), at its November 19 Investor Day — a yearly pilgrimage of the faithful that’s almost as popular as Berkshire Hathaway’s “corporate Woodstock”  — Liberty announced that the CAGR for its relevant entities from mid-2006 to mid-November 2014 was almost exactly 30%.