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Warren Buffett News: ‘I Do Not Have Any Secret Sauce’

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAYWarren Buffett: ‘I Do Not Have Any Secret Sauce’ (TheAtlanticWire)
The patron saint of local newspapers told The New York Times’ Christine Haughney that there’s no magic formula for his papers’ success. That’s a pretty modest statement from a self-professed newspaper “addict” who bought 63 papers last month, and we don’t buy it one bit. Neither does Haughney, who looks at Buffett’s Buffalo News. To be honest, it’s a little hard to tell who exactly the article is for: media gazers … newspaper entrepreneurs …journalists who begged Buffet to buy their papers last month… David Carr? But if you’re looking for a model for how to run your own local newspaper, Haughney’s look at Buffett’s treasured paper will interest you. According to Haughney, the News sustained financial blows and newsroom cuts, but still has reach: “70.9 percent of area households read or viewed The Buffalo News in the last month. The only news outlet with a higher number was The Des Moines Register, with 72.9 percent reading,” writes Haughney.

Buffett’s Favorite Valuation Metric Is Turning Bullish (BusinessInsider)
The most recent update to Warren Buffett’s favorite valuation metric is showing some fairly encouraging signs. For those who aren’t aware, Buffett is quoted saying that the total market cap vs GNP is one of his preferred valuation metrics. The current reading of 89% is still above his preferred buying range (70-80%), but well off the highs we’ve seen in the last 15 years.

Buffett Courtship Gives Bombardier Stock Boost (Businessweek)
Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) hailed last year’s $6.7 billion order from Warren Buffett’s jet-leasing company as the start of long-term collaboration. The proof came this week. Almost as soon as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) (A)’s NetJets bought big private planes in March 2011, talks got under way that led to the June 11 deal for as many as 275 smaller jets, said Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier’s business-aircraft unit.

Warren Buffett fired Benjamin Moore CEO after Bermuda cruise (NYPost)
Warren Buffett has sent one of his top execs on a cruise to Nowheres-ville. The billionaire owner of Berkshire Hathaway, famous for not micro-managing, stepped in last week and quietly canned the boss of Montvale, NJ-based Benjamin Moore paint after the CEO treated himself and his corporate coterie to a trip to Bermuda on the company tab, sources told The Post. Ironically, the 129-year-old Berkshire-owned paint company, after suffering through five years of shrinking sales in the wake of the housing market collapse, had just recorded its first quarterly sales increase since 2007.

At N.Y. newspaper, Warren Buffett leads from afar (Boston)
Over the years, newspaper owners have built monuments to themselves in the form of giant buildings, statues, and plaques. At the headquarters of The Buffalo News, a sand-colored office building, the only visible sign of the owner is a small photo hanging in the office of the publisher, Stanford Lipsey, signed, “To the best in the business, Warren.” Warren is, of course, the billionaire Warren E. Buffett, but the modesty of his physical presence — he has not visited the newsroom in eight years — understates his interest in the paper, which his company, Berkshire Hathaway, bought in 1977.

Warren Watch: Anti-hunger drive relies on farmers’ bounty (Omaha)
Two Gottsches and a Buffett climbed aboard a 1967 John Deere in Elkhorn last week, planting the seeds for the nation’s farmers to support local food banks. The tractor ride kicked off a campaign that will include a live broadcast on RFD-TV in August, a documentary that traces a crop from planting to sale and an appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day — a float trailed by antique tractors buzzing down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif.

Warren Buffett learned early just how quickly a hot tip can go sour (SeattleTimes)
Warren Buffett was a real-life NFL water boy — as an eighth-grader back in 1943 — long before he became a billionaire. “My older sister, Doris, dated Dudley (DeGroot) Jr., whose father was the coach of the Redskins,” Buffett told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald. “I made a pest of myself. Finally, Dudley Jr. arranged for me to be a water boy. I parlayed this younger-brother-pest situation into a stint as a water boy. I got onto the bench. I got to see Sammy Baugh in the locker room. It was great. Then my sister broke up with Dudley Jr.

Warren Buffett Racks Up $3.5 Million: Highest Social Meter Ever (SFGate)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Social Meter is the highest ever. On June 8, 2012, an anonymous donor paid $3.46 million to Glide, an antipoverty group in San Francisco, for the privilege of having lunch with Mr. Buffett. The donation will relieve the donor of approximately $1.2 million in taxes due to the IRS in 2012. In exchange, the donor and up to six guests will receive an invaluable meeting with a man that has a huge influence in the business world.

Woulfe, Completing Buffett Deal, to Start Tungsten Mine in July (Businessweek)
Woulfe Mining Corp. (WOF), preparing to close an investment agreement with a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) (A), will start up a tungsten mine next month that it projects will become the biggest in the world. Woulfe will raise $20 million in convertible notes in June to begin digging rock ready to be processed at the South Korean Sangdong mine, Chief Executive Officer Brian Wesson said in an interview in London. The company is waiting for Berkshire Hathaway’s IMC International Metalworking Companies BV unit to commit to $70 million of investment in the project.

Buffett Extends Real-Estate Bet With ResCap Pursuit: Mortgages (Businessweek)
Warren Buffett, whose prediction last year of a housing recovery was premature, is raising his bet on a rebound with his $3.85 billion bid for a mortgage business and loan portfolio from bankrupt Residential Capital LLC. The offer “certainly indicates that he thinks the worst is behind us,” Jeff Matthews, author of “Secrets in Plain Sight: Business & Investing Secrets of Warren Buffett,” said in a phone interview. “Yes, he’s been wrong about housing before. But if you look at any credit metric, if you look at any of the banks and what’s happening in their loan portfolios, it’s getting better.”

Tax for rich: How Obama has badly wasted Warren Buffett, says Friedman (EconomicTimes)
Watching this campaign unfold reaffirms how much it would have benefited from a serious, centrist third-party challenger. It would have been so clarifying to have an independent voice calling out Mitt Romney for running a campaign that consists of decrying the last three and a half years of the Obama presidency, while offering to reinstate the very same failed policies that made the eight years of George W. Bush a disaster that President Barack Obama has spent most of his time cleaning up. And it would have been equally clarifying to have an independent challenger calling out Obama for failing to put a credible, specific economic plan on the table – at the scale of our problem – but relying instead on a campaign that amounts to a series of discrete appeals to each of the Democratic Party constituencies. It feels like a ground war with no air cover.

Buffett’s bet on this sector finally starting to pay off (Investmentnews)
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the largest investor in Wells Fargo & Co. and holder of preferred shares in Bank of America Corp., climbed to a 13-month high as the lenders rallied. Berkshire Class A shares rose about 1 percent to $124,440 at 4 p.m. in New York, the highest value since April 2011. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. home lender, gained 1.5 percent while Bank of America advanced 4.5 percent.

Should Warren Buffett’s $3.46M Lunch Be Tax Deductible? (Forbes)
About taxes, John F. Kennedy once said, ‘‘The slogan —‘It’s deductible’ — should pass from our scene.’’ (Special Message to Congress on Taxation, Apr. 20, 1961.) JFK was commenting about expense accounts and business entertainment in the Mad Men era of the three martini lunch. However, his message had broader implications even then. More than 50 years later, it’s still timely. In fact, ‘‘It’s deductible’’ can sound downright obnoxious. Someone else–taxpayers–will foot part of the bill, so spend freely, it suggests.

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