Berkshire Shareholders Approve Stock Split, With Paper Cutout of Charlie Munger Looking On
Berkshire Hathaway shareholders have approved the company's proposed 50-for-one stock split of its Class B shares.
That will bring the stock's price down from almost $3400 right now to roughly $67 dollars when the split becomes effective. That could happen as soon as tomorrow.
About 150 people gathered in Omaha for the special shareholders meeting, with most holders voting by proxy.
The outcome was never in doubt.
CNBC producer Lacy O'Toole is in the auditorium. She reports Buffett took some questions while sitting at a table on stage.
Charlie Munger is not present, but there is a paper cutout with his photo. Buffett also has a recording of Charlie saying, "I have nothing to add" that's been played a few times after Buffett answers a question. (That's what Charlie often says after Buffett answers a question during a lengthy Q&A session at the regular shareholders meeting each May.)
Buffett concedes that Berkshire's acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe is "not cheap." And while the stock split is designed to faciliatate that deal, Buffett says even if it doesn't go through (which is very unlikely) Berkshire would still split its stock now for "the next time."
He says Berkshire doesn't like issuing stock for less than it is worth. If BNSF had insisted on more stock and less cash, on a 50/50 basis, he would have walked away from the deal.
He tells shareholders that it would now be "logical" for Berkshire to be added to the S&P 500 now that the Class B shares will be trading in double-digits with greater liquidity and volume. He thinks that will happen eventually because the company will be so large it can't be ignored. It would be a slight benefit to shareholders, he thinks, to be added to the S&P.
He adds, "The B may be the tail that wags the dog now."
Current Berkshire stock prices: