Friday, November 6, 2009

Has Warren Buffett Gone Nuts?

Make no mistake, I am a big fan of Warren Buffett. I follow his investment style in my own Share Investor Portfolio as faithfully as I can given my individual circumstances and background and have followed his fortunes closely in the years that I have known about him but I think he has gone a little nuts over the last year or so.

The past 12 months of financial turmoil has seen saturation coverage of the billionaire as he professes to be "Buying American", doing very large deals to buy stakes or debt in Harley Davision, Mars/Wrigley, Goldman Sachs, Tiffany, a whole host of other stocks and his latest coup de grace, the full takeover of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the large North American railroad freight mover.

His media over-exposure on its own seems a little desperate but the move on Burlington seems a little over the top considering he seems to be paying full price for the company, something he usually tries to avoid.

This deal will be Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway largest deal ever to take full control of the 77% of the company it doesn't already own and comes on top of news that his company will do a 50:1 share split of its "B" listed shares, something that Buffett has talked against for as long as he has run Berkshire.

None of these things on their own -with the exception of the Burlington purchase - indicate anything else other than looking to buy a "bargain" during the current economic downturn but the latest large purchase just seems to smack of putting it "all in" in an attempt to score the big one. Something he has done many times successfully in the past.

I know alot less than Buffett about the rail freight business, it may be a great long term purchase and there could be an ulterior motive to the move apart from the freight business but if you pay too much for an asset, well that is something Buffett has written books about. He normally wouldnt do it.

He really has me a little worried about the real state of affairs of the current financial turmoil. It is worse than what most would have us believe but Warren's actions smack of a man who knows that things could be alot worse.

Warren Buffett @ Share Investor

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Related Amazon Reading


The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
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c Share Investor 2009