Bank of America CEO: Warren Buffett tried to call me on a public call center line to talk investment—and couldn't get through
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is regarded as one of the greatest investors alive. Buffett has arguably made some of the most notable investment decisions of our lifetime.
And one of those decisions was to invest $5 billion into Bank of America in 2011 after the financial crisis.
But according to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, that very important deal hit a remarkably relatable snag early on.
When Buffett reached out to discuss his investment idea with Moynihan in 2011, the Oracle of Omaha simply called a public call center line for the bank and asked for Moynihan — and perhaps unsurprisingly, he did not get through.
"[Buffett] got into the call centers and asked to speak to me," Moynihan told Bloomberg Television in an excerpt from an interview published on Wednesday, "and of course they don't transfer everybody who calls the call centers to the CEO's line."
Luckily, the CFO of Berkshire Hathaway reached out to one of Bank of America's investment bankers, ultimately opening the door for Moynihan to talk to Buffett.
"He literally called me — talked to him for the first time in my life," Moynihan told Bloomberg Television, and the deal came together within a few days. "He does that."
In 2017, Berkshire made $12 billion from the investment.
"The interesting thing is, if you're a common shareholder and bought that day [in 2011], you would have fared as well as [Buffett] did," Moynihan said. "You just had to have the courage, and he had $5 billion at a time where other people didn't have."
Berkshire now has an over 10% stake in the bank, owning 950 million shares.
But the missed call wasn't the only uniquely down-to-earth thing about the Bank of America deal: Buffett told CNBC in 2011 that he came up with the idea for the investment while taking a bath, just a week before he made the phone call.
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