BECKY: Oh, you have this?
BUFFETT: And here it is: a tender offer from Berkshire Hathaway— that's from 1964. And if you look carefully, you'll see the price is—
BECKY: 11 and—
BUFFETT: —11 and three-eighths. He chiseled me for an eighth. And if that letter had come through with 11 and a half, I would have tendered my stock. But this made me mad. So I went out and started buying the stock, and I bought control of the company, and fired Mr. Stanton. (LAUGHTER)
Now, that sounds like a great little morality table— tale at this point. But the truth is I had now committed a major amount of money to a terrible business. And Berkshire Hathaway became the base for everything pretty much that I've done since. So in 1967, when a good insurance company came along, I bought it for Berkshire Hathaway. I really should— should have bought it for a new entity.
Because Berkshire Hathaway was carrying this anchor, all these textile assets. So initially, it was all textile assets that weren't any good. And then, gradually, we built more things on to it. But always, we were carrying this anchor. And for 20 years, I fought the textile business before I gave up. As instead of putting that money into the textile business originally, we just started out with the insurance company, Berkshire would be worth twice as much as it is now. So—
BECKY: Twice as much?
BUFFETT: Yeah. This is $200 billion. You can— you can figure that— comes about. Because the genius here thought he could run a textile business. (LAUGHTER)
BECKY: Why $200 billion?
BUFFETT: Well, because if you look at taking that same money that I put into the textile business and just putting it into the insurance business, and starting from there, we would have had a company that— because all of this money was a drag. I mean, we had to— a net worth of $20 million. And Berkshire Hathaway was earning nothing, year after year after year after year. And— so there you have it, the story of— a $200 billion— incidentally, if you come back in ten years, I may have one that's even worse. (LAUGHTER)
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