Warren Buffett compares Tesco problems to…cockroaches

Warren Buffett speaks at the “Detroit Homecoming” event, Sept. 18, 2014.
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Warren Buffett speaks at the “Detroit Homecoming” event, Sept. 18, 2014.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who took a hit on Tesco shares last year, has compared the U.K. supermarket's problems to cockroaches.

"In the world of business, bad news often surfaces serially: you see a cockroach in your kitchen; as the days go by, you meet his relatives," the legendary investor wrote in his annual letter to shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company he runs.

The company's after-tax loss from its Tesco investment was $444 million. It has now completely sold off the stake.


Buffett also admitted to "thumb-sucking" (delaying for too long) over the sale of Berkshire's Tesco shares, which at one point amounted to around 5 percent of the company.

Tesco's share price nearly halved last year, amid an investigation into a £250 million ($400 million) over-statement of profit, the departure of both its chief executive and finance director, and ongoing problems with faltering sales.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle.