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Acquisitions usually come with a nice premium for the seller. But when Warren E. Buffett is the buyer, there is typically something of a discount.
The ability to make acquisitions on favorable terms is a testament to Mr. Buffett's personality and skills as a deal maker. It also highlights an almost unsolvable problem for his company, Berkshire Hathaway, and its shareholders. When its 82-year-old chief executive is gone, who will negotiate such sweet deals?
Don't expect Moody's to downgrade Berkshire Hathaway.
The cynics in our midst immediately cast smirks in the direction of Moody's, which just happens to have a chunk of stock (11.5 percent) owned by Berkshire. Would the credit raters at Moody's have the temerity to downgrade their patron Sage of Omaha?
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has eliminated its holdings of two stocks: Archer Daniels Midland and General Dynamics, according to the quarterly filing with the SEC that lists its portfolio of U.S. publicly traded stocks as of March 31, the end of the first quarter.
Neither of the stakes were very large by Berkshire standings. The almost 6 million shares of ADM Berkshire held as of December 31 would be worth almost $207 million.
The 3.9 million General Dynamics shares held at the end of last year would be worth $297 million today.
The small size of those stakes indicates they were sold by one of Berkshire's portfolio managers, not by Buffett himself.
This is an unofficial transcript of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates appearing live on CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday, May 6, 2013 from 6 am ET to 9 am ET.
It is also available as a downloadable PDF document by clicking here.
ANNOUNCER: The Oracle of Omaha.
WARREN BUFFETT: Well, if you have any left over, yeah, mark 'em down, I'll buy one. (LAUGH)
ANNOUNCER: Warren Buffett gathering with his faithful.
BUFFETT: Let Charlie try and do this. (LAUGHTER)
ANNOUNCER: Now he sits down with Squawk Box for a three hour long conversation, the economy, the markets, the business of Berkshire Hathaway. A special presentation begins right now. (MUSIC)
Even as U.S. stock indexes hit all-time highs, Warren Buffett predicts they'll go "far higher" in the long run.
Right now, he very much favors equities over bonds, warning some investors could lose a lot of money in long-term fixed-income assets when interest rates eventually start to rise.
(Read More: CNBC Transcript: Buffett and Gates on 'Squawk Box')
Acknowledging that milestones like Dow 15,000 can draw Main Street's attention to stocks, Buffett said people should pay more attention when indexes cross those milestones on the way down because that's when stocks are "cheaper" and more attractive to buy.
While not as "cheap" as they were a few years ago, Buffett thinks stocks are now "reasonably priced" and not "ridiculously" high.
Warren Buffett told more than 30,000 shareholders gathered for Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting that the company will not change much when he's no longer in charge.
Buffett noted that newspapers often write stories saying Berkshire won't be the same without him, but he assured the crowd "it will be the same."
He said that Berkshire has created a strong "culture" over the years that would reject any attempt by an outsider to make changes that don't reflect his way of doing business.
During their multi-hour question-and-answer sessions with Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Warren Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger, often respond in a familiar pattern.
First, Buffett gives a fairly detailed, thoughtful, and diplomatic answer to the question. He then turns to Munger and says, "Charlie?" Munger waits a beat or two and then delivers a blunt, brief statement of exactly what's on his mind, and the audience laughs and/or claps appreciatively.
(Read more: Warren Buffett: 'Shot Heard Around the World' Coming)
One of Munger's biggest zingers today had him saying the European Union's decision to allow Greece to join was as stupid as someone using rat poison as whipping cream.
After it was all over, CNBC's Becky Quick asked Buffett to comment on some of Munger's most notable lines. Here's the CNBC.com-only video interview:
Warren Buffett has some advice for young people on how to be happy, and it has nothing to do with having billions of dollars.
During today's Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, 82-year-old Buffett and his 89-year-old business partner Charlie Munger were asked by a 30-year-old what advice they would give if they could communicate with themselves when they were 50 years younger.
Here's their response:
Warren Buffett has always spoken highly about Iscar, the Israeli metalworking company that joined the Berkshire Hathaway family seven years ago after Buffett received a letter from its chairman, Eitan Wertheimer.
This week, Berkshire bought the 20 percent of Iscar it didn't already own for $2 billion.
At this year's Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, CNBC's Becky Quick spoke with Wertheimer about his relationship with Buffett and Berkshire.
Here's the complete interview: