Warren Buffett whispers answers to FAQs
  1. Will Warren Buffett speak to our group/company/association?
  2. How do I contact Warren Buffett?
  3. Why doesn't Warren name a successor?
  4. Where is the best source of information about Warren Buffett and his investment and management philosophies?
  5. What happens after Warren dies?
  6. How are the Buffett CEOs compensated?
  7. Why did Warren invest in technology?
  8. Is Berkshire Hathaway a stock mutual fund?
  9. Can I purchase Berkshire Hathaway Stock direct from the company?
  10. How does Warren Buffett make his charitable donations?
  11. How does Warren Buffett live on $100,000 salary without ever selling a single share of his stock? How does he afford to travel by corporate jet?
  12. I have an idea for Warren Buffet and plan to write him a letter. Would you have any interest, via mail, email, or phone to review my idea and point me in the right direction?
  13. As the expert on all things Warren Buffett, I am hoping for some direction regarding whether it is possible, or even worth trying to contact Warren Buffett about a breakthrough technology?
  14. What are Berkshire Hathaway's Acquisition Criteria?
  15. Whom would I contact to find out if Mr Buffett gives individual donation?
  16. Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
    for re-election."

    Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

  17. What is the best way to meet Warren Buffett?
  18. If I write to Warren Buffett asking to hire me (even work for FREE!), would he even give a thought to it?
  19. I am writing to you today in regards to your relationship with Warren Buffett and your success in your field. I have been interested in entering the business world and becoming a CEO and recently the stock market and investments have been my focus and are quickly becoming my passion. I am trying to learn from the best and most successful professionals in this nation and my research has led me to you. I would hope we can discuss either investment strategies, resources or perhaps, should your schedule allow it, a meeting with Mr. Buffett. ?
  20. I received an email that said I was receiving a donation from Warren Buffett. I would like to know if this is legitimate.
Answer 1 Will Warren Buffett speak to our group/company/association?
Each year Warren writes his managers and asks them to decline all speech requests without checking with him.
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Answer2 How do I contact Warren Buffett?
Simply visit his website http://www.berkshirehathaway.com for his Omaha mailing address and send him a letter. Warren does not have an email address. Please note that since he receives 250 - 300 letters per day, unsolicited investment proposals generally go unanswered if they fail to meet the investment criteria he sets out in his annual letter to shareholders. Correspondence regarding charitable gift requests also receive NO response and are best sent to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Answer3Why doesn't Warren name a successor?
Warren likes to tease that he plans to retire 5 years after his death and then conduct regular séances with his board of directors. Actually he is born to do what he is doing, does it for the smallest salary [$100,000] of any of the Fortune 500 CEOs, without any stock options or without ever selling a single share of his stock, and has the type of job [allocating capital and finding, selecting and keeping talented managers] that is actually done better with a few gray hairs.

I have written a separate chapter in The Warren Buffett CEO titled Berkshire Post Buffett detailing what selection criteria the board of directors may consider when choosing Warren's successor(s). A possible but not likely candidate is mentioned, along with the criteria for selection.
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Answer4
Where is the best source of information about Warren Buffett and his investment and management philosophies?

Best to check his website for all things related to Warren Buffett. Start by reading his annual letters to shareholders and make a note to attend the mother of all annual meetings, the first Saturday in May in the heartland of Capitalism, Omaha, Nebraska.
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Answer5 What happens after Warren dies?
Warren's job will be divided into three. One person, most likely a Buffett family member and his son Howard, will be named chairman of the board to maintain the unique family style corporate culture. Another, most likely someone like Lou Simpson of GEICO, will be named CEO in charge of capital operations. And another will be named CEO of operations. This CEO business model is already successfully in place at GEICO Auto Insurance.
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Answer6 How are the Buffett CEOs compensated?
Each is paid a cash salary and additional compensation based on the profits of their individual business. If the business manager owned the business before selling to Berkshire, he or she may continue to own as much as 20 percent of the business and enjoy an annual earnings distribution. Stock options are never used as management compensation and the measurement and focus is on what is going on inside the business, particularly earnings and changes in book value.
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Answer7 Why did Warren invest in technology?

Q. I am perplexed in Buffett's investment in Level 3 because it runs contrary to everything he has ever written and said and there is not predictability to Level 3 in any way. Even if you ask LVLT CEO James Crowe he will say that he does not know what his business will look like one year out in the future and thus there is no visibility. Why would Warren make an investment in an enterprise where technology changes the business everyday? I know he likes to bet on CEOs (thanks to your book) but this business is really tough. If he were to make a technology investment it would be Microsoft, which certainly has much more visibility. What are your thoughts?

A. My take on Level 3 is Warren bought a convertible bond paying an attractive rate of interest that has already doubled in value. This is the same way he got into many other investments, e.g. Gillette, US Air. The Buffett CEO in this case is Walter Scott. Without him I doubt he would have done the deal. If you remember Walter brought him the MidAmerican deal which is now one the largest and most profitable divisions of Berkshire. MidAmerican, in two short years, has revenue of $6 billion and earnings of $300 million. It is already larger than the flight services division. Energy, at the right price, may become the second largest component of BRK. He bought LVLT at the maximum point of pessimism and at $100 million it only represents the equivalent of one week's cash flow for BRK. Remember this is a high yield bond not an equity investment, although at Warren's option it may become one. What is amazing is that for about the same amount of money he bought the largest furniture store chain in Texas and no one ever talks about that purchase. LVLT fascinates most people because of the Walter Scott connection, technology relationship, the apparent contradiction to Warren’s investment principles and the fact that so many Omaha and Berkshire shareholders have lost 90 cents of every dollar invested in this company.

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Answer8 Is Berkshire Hathaway a stock mutual fund?
No, Berkshire Hathaway is a conglomerate made up of over 100 wholly owned subsidiaries as well as a handful of partly owned common stocks. It has significant property and casualty insurance businesses, cash and fixed income investments.
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Answer9Can I purchase Berkshire Hathaway Stock direct from the company?
No. Berkshire Hathaway is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol brka and brkb. The B shares trade and are worth 1/1500th the economic value of the A shares. As an example, if the A shares trade for $150,000 then the B shares will trade for $100. You must purchase and sell your shares through a NYSE licensed online, discount or full service stockbroker.
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Answer10How Does Warren Buffett make his charitable donations?
Warren Buffett is in the process of donating the bulk of his estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The majority of his Berkshire stock (5 percent of his wealth each year over the next 20 years) is being transferred to the Gates Foundation. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation sponsors an outstanding Omaha public teacher (K - 12) awards each year as well as a scholarship program for Nebraska college students. Each of Warren's three children also have their own foundations. Eldest daughter Susan A Buffett's charity is called The Sherwood Foundation and is focused on children and family welfare in low income neighborhoods in Omaha. Howard G Buffett Foundation is targeting global environmental and conservation needs. Peter Buffett with his NoVo Foundation is currently evaluating how they will distribute their funds to change, alter and invent. Warren's sister Doris also has her own Sunshine Lady Foundation which focuses on solving domestic violence. Read How Buffett's Giveaway Will Work.
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Answer11
How does Warren Buffett live on $100,000 salary without ever selling a single share of Berkshire stock?  How does he afford to travel by corporate jet?

From 1956 to 1969 Warren Buffett managed the Buffett partnership which gave him 25% of the profits after a 6% guaranteed return to his partners. With that arrangement Warren was able to generate $25 million in net worth, most of which was invested in Berkshire Hathaway. However Mr. Buffett kept 1% of his money outside of Berkshire. That portfolio estimated at $400 million generates over $40 million per year in annual income. Which is how he and his family affords to fly as many as 300 hours per year on wholly owned subsidiary NetJets planes. As a side note, Warren personally pays for the use of the jet.

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Answer12
I have an idea for Warren Buffet and plan to write him a letter. Would you have any interest, via mail, email, or phone to review my idea and point me in the right direction?

Sorry I do not handle any correspondence. Best to write to Mr. Buffett directly. Remember Buffett is spelled with two t's. Good luck.

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As the expert on all things Warren Buffett, I am hoping for some direction regarding whether it is possible, or even worth trying to contact Warren Buffett about a breakthrough technology?

You can send to Mr. Buffett at his company address found on his website http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/

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Answer14
What are Berkshire Hathaway's Acquisition Criteria?

They are listed in every BH annual report immediately following Warren Buffett's Annual Letter to Shareholders:
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. ACQUISITION CRITERIA.  We are eager to hear from principals or their representatives about businesses that meet all of the following criteria: (1) Large purchases (at least $75 million of pre-tax earnings unless the business will fit into one of our existing units), (2) Demonstrated consistent earning power (future projections are of no interest to us, nor are “turnaround” situations), (3) Businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt, (4) Management in place (we can’t supply it), (5) Simple businesses (if there’s lots of technology, we won’t understand it), (6) An offering price (we don’t want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown).
The larger the company, the greater will be our interest: We would like to make an acquisition in the $5-20 billion range.
We are not interested, however, in receiving suggestions about purchases we might make in the general stock market.
We will not engage in unfriendly takeovers. We can promise complete confidentiality and a very fast answer – customarily within five minutes – as to whether we’re interested. We prefer to buy for cash, but will consider issuing stock when we receive as much in intrinsic business value as we give.
We don’t participate in auctions.
Charlie and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that don’t come close to meeting our tests: We’ve found that if you advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping to sell you their cocker spaniels. A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: “When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.”

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Answer15
Whom would I contact to find out if Mr Buffett gives individual donation?

To my knowledge Mr. Buffett does not make individual donations. Instead he makes annual contributions to five designated foundations (Bill and Melinda Gates, his late wife and his three children) and then each of them makes grants according to their stated mission.

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Answer16
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

Yes Mr. Buffett did say the above quote on solving the deficit.[Video]
He did NOT say everything else contained in the chain email. Nor would he ask anyone to forward this email. Its one of the reasons Mr. Buffett does video interviews so that he cannot be misquoted. One tip off that the email wasn't from him is 'Buffet' is mispelled. 

Mr. Buffett also supports Simpson-Bowles, which is a bi-partisan proposal to raise revenue and lower spending.[Video resource]

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Answer18
Q. What is the best way to meet Warren Buffett?

A. The best way is to enroll into a MBA program. Mr. Buffett welcomes to his office in Omaha, Nebraska, graduate business students from 45 universities six times throughout the year. He answers questions for 90 minutes and then treats the visiting students to lunch. Tours are arranged to visit local wholly owned businesses including Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheims Jewelry. Each college is permitted to send 20 students, however 30 percent or more must be women. Best to contact his office for more details. Another way to see Mr. Buffett, although it is unlikely that you will meet him, is to attend his annual meeting, usually held on the first Saturday in May. More details can be found at www.berkshirehathaway.com

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Answer19
Q. If I write to Warren Buffett asking to hire me (even work for FREE!), would he even give a thought to it?

A. With 24 people at the home office in Omaha, job opportunities and openings are not likely. Suggest applying to one of the many subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway: http://berkshirehathaway.com/subs/sublinks.html

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Robert Miles Questions
Q.I am writing to you today in regards to your relationship with Warren Buffett and your success in your field. I have been interested in entering the business world and becoming a CEO and recently the stock market and investments have been my focus and are quickly becoming my passion. I am trying to learn from the best and most successful professionals in this nation and my research has led me to you. I would hope we can discuss either investment strategies, resources or perhaps, should your schedule allow it, a meeting with Mr. Buffett. ?

A. The best way to learn more about the investment strategies of Warren Buffett is to read The Intelligent Investor, a book written by his college professor, Benjamin Graham. Also reading Mr. Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders found on his company’s website berkshirehathaway.com will help you understand his investment and management philosophies. Sorry I do not provide private introductions to Mr. Buffett. Good luck with your investments and business career. 

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