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Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting is a 3-day hoopla

By Dian Vujovich

The only way to get to the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is to be a shareholder.  So incase you’re not, let me tell you that there’s more to this 3-day event than listening to the what the Oracle of Omaha has got to say about last year’s performance and this year’s outlook.


Nope. This meeting is a jammed pack occasion complete with gifts and discounts galore at any number of Omaha retailers—especially Borsheims. That’s the name of one of our country’s largest jewelry stores located in Buffett’s hometown. It’s also owned by Berkshire Hathaway.


Decide it’s time to buy your sweetie say a diamond ring, bracelet or any other type of precious bobble and do so on Shareholder Shopping Sunday and you’ll get a sizeable discount when shopping at Borsheims. And with any luck at all, you’ll be able to buy that trinket from Buffett himself.  Believe it or not, he will be selling jewelry beginning at 1 p.m.  Sunday afternoon. According to one report, last year W.B. sold $1.5 million worth of goods. This year he’s hoping to exceed that amount.


But I’m getting ahead of myself here: While Sunday is the last day of all-things-money- and-fun in Omaha, Nebraska, Berkshire Hathaway’s meeting events begin tonight, Friday at their Shareholder Reception. It begins at 6 p.m. and is hosted by, you guessed it, Borsheims.


Today is also the day that one would pick up all of the info necessary to partake in the “Invest in Yourself”  5k race scheduled for Sunday. I wonder if Warren is running in it? He doesn’t look like the running type to me.


Saturday, May 4, is the day of the Annual Meeting held at the CneturyLink Center in downtown Omaha.  Doors open at 7 a.m., the Q&A session runs from 9:30 to 3:30. It’s followed by the Business Meeting.


I’m figuring no one can go to Omaha without having a steak and so must the shareholder meeting event planning. Shareholder Steak Night is Sunday. The invite names two restaurants: Gorat’s Steakhouse and Piccolo’s.


While there’s more to this  must-attend-almost-groupie-like shareholder meeting than one might expect, what ought to count more than party favors and product discounts is company performance and management. And to that end, Berkshire Hathaway continues to shine.


A chart that compares the per-share book value of Berkshire with the performance of the S&P 500 (with dividends included) shows the compounded annual gain between 1965 and 2012 was 19.7 for the company; 9.4 percent for the S&P.


That works out to an overall gain from 1964 through 2012 of 586,817 percent vs. 7,433 percent.


As for management, Buffett gives plenty of credit to the company’s two new investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler. From Buffett’s March letter in the annual report: “Todd and Ted are young and will be around to manage Berkshire’s massive portfolio long after Charlie and I have left the scene. You can rest easy when they take over.”

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