Berkshire’s size has also become a hindrance because few businesses are big enough to merit Buffett’s attention. “The best market timer I ever saw”: Buffett has a legendary reputation in the investing world. “I don’t think the list of his ‘fat-pitch’ companies is all that exhaustive,” said David Rolfe, who oversees $US8. 6 billion including Berkshire stock as chief investment officer of Wedgewood Partners Inc.
Unlike private-equity firms, which are under pressure to invest limited partners’ funds, Buffett has the benefit of Berkshire’s long-term shareholders who support his refusal to rush an acquisition or stock purchase. “The guy’s just not going to spend the cash to spend it,” said Wedgewood Partners’ Rolfe.
Its sales of stock more than doubled to $US2. 96 billion. “It’s more difficult, across the board, to find cheap assets,” said John Fox, director of research at Fenimore Asset Management in Cobleskill, New York, which oversees $US1. 9 billion including Berkshire stock.
In 1998, the Berkshire CEO wrote in his annual letter to shareholders that he and Vice Chairman Charles Munger drew inspiration from Ted Williams, the Hall of Fame baseball player whose discipline at the plate helped him win six batting titles. “Unlike Ted, we can’t be called out if we resist three pitches that are barely in the strike zone,” Buffett wrote. “Nevertheless, just standing there, day after day, with my bat on my shoulder is not my idea of fun.
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