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Warren Buffett says Berkshire's annual meeting will be held without shareholders in attendance

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Key Points
  • "I very much regret this action," Buffett said in a letter to shareholders.
  • "It is now clear, however, that large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community," Buffett added.
  • Berkshire's annual meeting — which is slated for May 2 — has become a staple in the global business community.
  • Tens of thousands of people from around the world attend the event known by some as "Woodstock for Capitalists."
Warren Buffett
Gerard Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett announced Friday that Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting will be held without shareholders present because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the May 2 meeting will be streamed online by Yahoo Finance.

The meeting is among the latest big events that have been canceled or closed off to a large audience because of COVID-19. Earlier this week, the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons indefinitely and the NCAA's March Madness tournaments have been canceled.

"I very much regret this action; for many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger," Buffett said in a letter to shareholders. "It is now clear, however, that large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community."

"Therefore, we will limit attendance to me, possibly Charlie, and several Berkshire employees who will deliver proxy votes," Buffett said.

At the meetings, Buffett and Munger, Berkshire's 96-year-old vice chairman, field questions from shareholders for more than six hours.

Berkshire's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, has become a staple in the global business community. Tens of thousands of people from around the world attend the event known by some as "Woodstock for Capitalists."

 "Charlie and I will miss you, but we will see many thousands of you next year," the 89-year-old Buffett said.