Sokol Questions Loom, But Buffett Doesn't Expect 'Different' Tone as Shareholders Gather
Warren Buffett promises to answer all questions about the David Sokol scandal, and there will certainly be plenty of them tomorrow as roughly 40-thousand Berkshire Hathaway shareholders gather in Omaha.
But Buffett tells us he doesn't expect a "different" tone at the meeting and predicts a lot of shareholders will concentrate on "Berkshire and its prospects."
Buffett concedes that most reporters will be more interested in Sokol. That's demonstrated in the headlines of today's meeting preview stories.
Reuters warns that Buffett May Not Feel Much Love at His 'Woodstock'and quotes a business professor, and Buffett fan, as saying, "He's the best and I expect the best from him, and I think that's why everyone is so disappointed."
The AP writes that Questions About Top Berkshire Exec's Exit Lingerand has some shareholders saying the Sokol incident "demonstrates a weakness of Berkshire's highly decentralized business model."
Fortune's Street Sweep says even though it may seem unfair, Buffett won't be able to avoid "the judgment question."
BECKY: Did you agree with what was put out by the audit committee?
BUFFETT: (Laughs) I'll answer all questions. (Laughs) I promise you, I'll answer that question. I just don't want to step on my own lines. And I want all the shareholders to hear it at the same time. I mean, 40-thousand or so people will be there. We'll get it up as fast as we can. And I want them to hear the same exact words, simultaneously, as close as we can come...
BECKY: Are you expecting this meeting to be different, in terms of the tone, from other years, or the same?
BUFFETT: I don't think it will be different, no. I think probably the press will be more interested in the Sokol affair, but whoever's interested in that — We never know who's going to ask questions from the shareholders group because it's done by lottery right before we start. So, who knows what they're interested in? But I think a lot of them are really interested in Berkshire and its prospects.
Berkshire is planning to post a transcript of all "questions and answers related to the David Sokol — Lubrizol matter that are raised" at the shareholders meeting.
His quip to Fox Business: "You'll not hear no comment. If our lawyer gets up and wrestles me to the ground, I'll still be trying to talk."
Buffett will also answer Becky's questions about the matter when he does his first live interview following the meeting. You can see him on CNBC's Squawk Box between 8 AM and 9 AM ET Monday morning.
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