Warren Buffett News: Coca-Cola Company (KO) Conviction, Kass-Faceoff, Kids & More

Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)

Warren BuffettWarren Buffett: ‘I wouldn’t think of selling a share’ of Coca-Cola stock (SaportaReport)
The 2013 The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) annual meeting began more like a fireside chat between CEO Muhtar Kent and the legendary Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A), the largest shareholder of the soft drink company. For most shareholders attending the annual meeting at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Buffett’s presence was a pleasant surprise. Buffett had served on Coca-Cola’s board for 17 years; and his son, Howard Buffett, has been a director since 2010. As Buffett walked on stage, the crowd of 850 shareholders and guests gave him a warm welcome. “When you’re 82, they clap when you sit down because they’re not sure you’re going to get up,” Buffett said. Kent had Buffett tell the story of how he first went into the The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) business when he was 7 years old in Omaha. He would buy a six-pack of Coke for 25 cents from and sell each bottle to his friends for a nickel.

Warren Buffett Voices Confidence in the Future of Texas Real Estate at Prudential Summit (SFGate)
When a man who is arguably the most successful investor in the world is taking a stake in North Texas real estate, it may just be time for Texans adhering by conservative home buying and selling philosophies to breathe a collective sigh of relief about the market’s future. At the HitPLAY Prudential Real Estate Convention held March 10-12 in Las Vegas, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) and famed finance guru Warren Buffett treated attendees to a candid state-of-the-union speech on the real estate market that should have Prudential Texas shareholders and client’s feeling very optimistic about the future of home sales throughout the Lone Star State.

How Investor Doug Kass Is Getting Ready To Go Toe To Toe With Warren Buffett (BusinessInsider)
WeWhat does one ask the Oracle of Omaha? Investor Doug Kass will show us all next week at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)’s investor day. For now, according to Bloomberg, he’s doing some important things to prepare for the face-off. Buffett selected Kass, who manages the firm Seabreeze Partners Management, after putting out a call to the investment world. He said he was looking for Berkshire bears — at least one contrarian to ask him questions during the yearly pilgrimage of Berkshire shareholders to Nebraska.

Timeless Investment Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Business Partner, Charlie Munger (Morningstar)
With  Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) annual meeting–the Woodstock of Capitalism–set for Saturday, May 4, many investors are preparing to flock to Omaha once again to hear pearls of wisdom both from Berkshire’s chairman Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger. It’s virtually impossible to overstate the influence that Munger, who recently turned 89 years old, has had on Buffett and on Buffett’s investing discipline. Buffett regularly labels Munger as his “partner” at Berkshire, and fills the firm’s annual shareholder letters with phrases like, “Charlie and I believe…” In fact, in Berkshire’s 2012 letter, Buffett makes reference to their long and fruitful working relationship, noting that “more than 50 years ago, Charlie told me that it was far better to buy a wonderful business at a fair price than to buy a fair business at a wonderful price.” That insight has guided Buffett over the years and helped him become more comfortable with paying up for outstanding businesses with economic moats, or sustainable competitive advantages.

Kids Pitch Business Proposals To Warren Buffett (WowT)
A select group of young entrepreneurs have won an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to investor Warren Buffett. The kids, who are between 7- and 16-years-old, were chosen out of nearly 4,000 entries in the online contest. The contest is tied to “The Secret Millionaires Club” cartoon that Buffett appears in to teach financial lessons. The contest is sponsored by the Fairholme Foundation and overseen by the By Kids For Kids Co. Five individuals and three teams will be flown to Omaha to present their ideas to Buffett and a panel of judges. An online vote from May 6-13 will help determine which of the finalists will win grand prizes of $5,000. The runners up will receive $500 prizes.

11 Signs That Berkshire Is Built to Last (Fool)
Warren Buffett is known for being a long-term investor. And I mean long-term investor. In one of Buffett’s best-known quips, he said: “When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.” When we look at Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) , though, is it an “outstanding business” that investors can consider holding forever? I think so, and following are 11 reasons I believe Berkshire is built to succeed for years — and decades — to come. 11. Succession plans There are companies that talk about succession plans and there are companies that make succession plans. Berkshire is a company that has made succession plans. We’ve seen the company add investors Todd Combs and Ted Weschler into the mix, and Buffett has assured investors that there is an unnamed but ready-to-step-in operational replacement for the Oracle.

Here’s a dirty secret of financial media: Putting Warren Buffett in a headline is pretty much guaranteed to give your article decent appeal. So it’s no surprise that everyone under the sun tries to derive meaning from even the slightest change Buffett makes — or more precisely, that his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) makes. A few years ago, Buffett liked railroads and Buffett liked banks. Last year, he started to like newspapers. And as I just wrote last week, Buffett doesn’t like gold and hasn’t for some time. But while interesting and good for clicks, this kind of oversimplification isn’t very helpful to investors. Because no matter what you’d like to believe, there is absolutely zero chance you’ll be able to trade like Buffett and Berkshire. The tools at your disposal simply are not the same.

Warren Buffett’s 10 Largest Stock Holdings (Fool)
The probability that you or I will be the next Warren Buffett is about 1 in 7 billion — the latter is roughly the population of the planet earth. And even that likely overstates our chances, given that Buffett is arguably not only the greatest investor alive today, but perhaps the greatest of all time. The fact that few investors will ever replicate his success doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t learn from him. And one of the best ways to do this is to simply examine his portfolio. With this in mind, the following infographic offers a cursory look at Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) equity portfolio and how well its own stock has performed over the last couple decades.

IBM: A Disaster In The Making (Nasdaq)
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is going to cost Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) a lot more than the $1.3 billion of paper profit that has vanished since last Friday. With a cost basis near $170 per share, it’s unlikely Warren Buffett can sell 68 million shares of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) without driving the price below $170, but that’s what he should do: Sell IBM. The problem for IBM: Its operating model is built around selling on-premise computing – including so-called “private clouds” – but the $3.6 trillion IT industry is moving at an accelerating pace in an entirely different direction, to the public cloud, which is a low-margin utility model. As Adrian Cockcroft, CTO of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) said, “there is zero revenue for traditional IT ” in the public cloud. Users pay low variable expense (prices have been dropping from cheap to super-cheap) with no capex. Question: How can International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) compete with cheap “rented” computing power? Answer: It can’t.

Israeli Billionaire Opens Industrial Park in Nazareth (BusinessWeek)
Israeli billionaire Stef Wertheimer, founder of the Warren Buffett-owned Iscar Metalworking Cos., opened an industrial park in Nazareth today that intends to provide manufacturing jobs for local Arab residents. The park’s aim “is to use the skills of the people of Nazareth and surrounding area,” to create export-oriented products, Wertheimer said. Unemployment and poverty rates for Israeli Arabs, who comprise about 20 percent of the country’s population, are higher than for the Jewish majority. The percentage of Arabs who participate in the Israeli labor market is about 41 percent compared with 60 percent of Jewish citizens, according to a 2011 report by the Israel Democracy Institute, a Jerusalem research center. Slightly more than half of Israeli Arabs live below the official poverty line, according to the National Insurance Institute.