Berkshire Hathaway owns 11 percent of the ratings agency. Will this keep it from getting downgraded by Moody's?» Read More
It's the ninth time in 48 years this has happened. Buffett notes that the S&P 500 has outpaced Berkshire over the past four years, and if the market continues to gain this year the benchmark stock index could have its first five-year win ever.
"When the partnership I ran took control of Berkshire in 1965, I could never have dreamed that a year in which we had a gain of $24.1 billion would be subpar. ... But subpar it was."
Buffett has found his bear.
In his letter to shareholders published on Friday, Warren E. Buffett said that "to spice things up" he wanted to find a money manger with an unfavorable view of Berkshire Hathaway to participate in the company's annual meeting.
"The only requirement is that you be an investment professional and negative on Berkshire," he wrote.
On Monday, Mr. Buffett said Doug Kass, a hedge fund manager, would be added to the panel of analysts who question Mr. Buffett and Berkshire's vice chairman, Charles T. Munger, on stage during Berkshire's annual gathering in Omaha on May 4.
There is a cottage industry dedicated to answering the question: "what would Warren do?"
Warren Buffett's investment principles, laid out in his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, have inspired guides, imitators and even children's books. Thousands travel to Omaha, Nebraska each year to hear him elaborate at the conglomerate's annual meeting.
When the next dispatch arrives late on Friday, readers will hope to find an explanation of the thinking behind his latest $12 billion-$13 billion investment, the purchase of ketchup maker Heinz with Brazilian buyout group 3G Capital.
Yet the letter is likely to answer in only the most general terms the query: "what will Warren do next?"
We'll use some of them when the Berkshire Hathaway chairman makes his sixth annual "Ask Warren" appearance starting at 6 am ET on Monday, March 4.
Becky will also be asking him about his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, due to be released on Friday after the U.S. stock markets close, along with the company's Q4 and 2012 financial results.
During last year's "Ask Warren," Buffett generated headlines when he said he'd buy up "a couple hundred thousand" single family homes if it were practical to do so.
Is it still accurate to think of Warren Buffett as one of the great value investors of our time?
Buffett looks for skilled management teams, strong balance sheets, great products and an attractive price. On Thursday, the Oracle announced that Berkshire and 3G Capital Management will pay $72.50 a share, or $23 billion, for Heinz.