At the Berkshire 2018 Conference, Buffett and Munger discussed their discussion in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and whether they approve of the company buybacks. See below for an informal transcript on that topic.
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We’ve got a handful of questions relating to Apple. This is a bit of a mash up of a couple of them. Warren you have bought in in and sold out of IBM. You have praised Jeff Bezos but never bought Amazon and you have doubled down on Apple. Can you tell us what it is about Apple and given your sometimes critical views on buybacks. Do you think Apple would do better spending a hundred billion dollars on buybacks or buying other productive businesses the way you have generally preferred. A hundred billion dollars is a lot of money. I used to think some the Apple has a incredible consumer product which you understand a lot better than I do whether they should buy their shares and they shouldn’t buy any shares at all unless they think that they’re selling for less than they’re worth. And if they are selling less than they’re worth and they have the money and they don’t see an acquisition that’s even more attractive. They should buy in their shares and I think that that’s very. Because I think it’s extremely hard to find acquisitions that would be a accreted to Apple would be in the 50 or 100 billion and 200 billion dollar range. They do a lot of small acquisitions. And you know I’m delighted to see them repurchasing shares we own let’s say we own 200 million or so shares. They have I think 4 billion 923 million or something like that.
The first London Value Investor Conference was held in April 2012 and it has since grown to become the largest gathering of Value Investors in Europe, bringing together some of the best investors every year. At this year’s conference, held on May 19th, Simon Brewer, the former CIO of Morgan Stanley and Senior Adviser to Read More
And mentally you can say we own 5 percent of it but I figure when you go with the passage of a little time we may own 6 or 7 percent simply because they repurchase shares. And I find that got an extraordinary product in that ecosystem and there’s lots to be done. I love the idea of having our 5 percent or whatever it may be grow to 6 or 7 percent without us laying out a dime. I mean it worked for us in many other situations. But you have to have some very very very special product and which has an enormous wide enormously widespread ecosystem and are products extremely sticky and all of that sort of thing. And they’re not going to find 50 or 100 billion dollar acquisitions that they can make it remotely a sensible price that really become a matter of that that they may they may find it who knows. But there certainly as I look around the horizon I don’t see anything that would make a lot of sense for them in terms of what they’d have to pay and what they would get. Whereas I do see a business that they know everything about and where they may or may not be able to buy it at an attractive price when they repurchase their shares. That remains to be seen. Incidentally that’s one thing that I always enjoy people people say well you’re talking your book or something if you talk from our standpoint we would love to see Apple go down in price. That they’re going to well just put it this way. If Andrew and Charlie and I were partners in a business that was worth three million dollars. So each of us had a million dollar interest and Andrew offered to sell out his one third interest at 800000. And we had the money around.
We jumped at the chance to buy him out. I mean it’s so simple but people get all lost. And if he want a million do for it we wouldn’t pay it to him. It’s it’s very simple math but it gets lost in all these discussions. And of course like I say Tim Cook can do simple math and probably do very complicated math too. So we very much approve of them repurchasing shares.
I think generally speaking in America when companies go out hellbender by other companies they do that they’re worth less after the transaction is made than they were before. So I don’t think you have a general way to wealth for American corporations to go out and buy other corporations averaged out. It’s a way down not up. And I think that a great many places have nothing better to do than to buy their own stock and nothing is advantageous to do as big as buying a stock.
So I think we know pretty damn well what’s going to happen to Apple. They’ll be very lucky to if there was something available to a low price that they could buy. I don’t think the world is that easy. I think that the reason these companies are buying their stock is that is that they’re smart enough to know that it’s better for them. Anything else that does not mean we approve of every buyback at all. I mean we’ve shown I think some people just it to keep the stock up and that of course is insane and immoral. Reporter remotes from.