With asset prices falling and the markets in turmoil, there's been lots of speculation that this could very well be Warren Buffett's 'opportunity time' as the "last buyer standing."
Just last week, before hosting an Omaha fundraiser for Barack Obama, he told CNBC's Becky Quick the current market ups and downs "will probably present more opportunity to us because when dislocations occur things get more mispriced and that sort of thing." (You can see and read the entire exclusive interview in this WBW post.
Today, the Wall Street Journal focuses on Buffett's potential opportunities in its "" column. It includes a trademark Buffett's non-committal comment about his buying plans. He tells the Journal, "I can spend money faster than Imelda Marcos when things are right." Marcos, of course, is the former Philippines first lady famous for spending a great deal of money on fun things like shoes.
And the Journal quotes Buffett as hinting that he's getting approached by a lot of people lately, trying to convince him to come to their rescue with a well-time discount purchase. "I'm definitely more popular than I was a few months ago. But I started from a low base."
Since, as the Journal puts it, "Mr. Buffett hews to Berkshire's policy of not discussing potential transactions," the article does some speculating.
It points out that Buffett has nearly $50 billion in cash, after a few years of not doing a lot of buying thanks to competition from free-spending hedge-funds and private equity buyers.
Among the possibilities:
I can't stress strongly enough that all this is speculation. It's guessing what Buffett might be doing or thinking about based on his past buying patterns and philosophy. The only person who knows for sure is Mr. Buffett himself. Last week, Becky asked him about the "people on our air .. saying Warren Buffett would be buying here, I know he'd be looking around."
His laughing response: "Good. Tell me what they say I'm buying, and maybe I'll buy some." (You can hear him say it in the video clip above.)
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