It's Time to Break Up Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway: The Parts Are Worth More Than the Whole

Thornton Oglove is a Wall Street veteran known for his authorship of the institutional research publication, “The Quality of Earnings Report", and the seminal book, “Quality of Earnings: The Investor's Guide to How Much Money a Company Is Really Making.” His work features amongst the “must reads” by industry icons including Tom Gardner of the Motley Fool, and on Kuppy’s Book List as one of the top financial accounting books of all time.

On May 3rd, Berkshire Hathaway  (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) will hold its 49th annual meeting at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Tens of thousands of its shareholders will converge on the city to pay homage to Warren Buffett, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

And if Buffett wants to make those shareholders particularly happy -- and much wealthier -- this year, he'll announce a plan to break up Berkshire Hathaway.

The Oracle of Omaha
At this time, Buffett is one of the world's most successful corporate executives ever. Between 1964 and 2013, Berkshire's book value has grown an incredible 693,518%. At the same time, a the S&P 500, with dividends included, returned 9,841%. With outperformance like that, no wonder Buffett's shareholders revere him.

According to the October 27, 2003 edition of Barron's, there were four individual billionaire shareholders and many more shareholders whose Berkshire stock was worth over a million dollars. Since the publication of that article, the price of those shares has more than doubled.

It's time for a change
Berkshire doesn't pay a common-stock dividend, and every year at the annual meeting, there is a contingent of investors who ask whether it's finally time for that to change. Buffett's reply has remained constant: "Absolutely not." His stance is that the book value of the company today is considerably higher than it would have been if Berkshire had been paying dividends.

While that stance may have been beneficial to Berkshire shareholders in the past, I don't believe it's true any longer. Berkshire has simply become too large to create sustainable market-beating returns for investors and much of the value of the company is hidden within its conglomerate structure.

Here are five reasons why I think Warren Buffett should now become a distributor rather than an acquirer:

1. Unlocking hidden value 
If Warren Buffett announced a program of spinning off and distributing most of his operating companies to shareholders, Berkshire stock would soar in value.

As Buffett has noted, the fair value of Berkshire is much higher than it's book value. Spinning off the conglomerate's many subsidiaries would bring this value into the light of day.

2. Tax advantages 
There are significant tax advantages for investors who receive corporate spin-offs. Specifically, when the spin-off is properly structured, the investor does not have to pay any taxes on the distribution until they sell their stock.

3. Dividend bonanza 
Most of the spun-off operating companies would be paying quarterly dividends, which would be a shareholder bonanza in itself.

4. Continued acquisition growth
The liberated operating companies which are making "bolt-on" acquisitions would continue to make them. Last year, these subsidiaries contracted for 25 acquisitions.

5. Spin-offs leading to more spin-offs
Berkshire lists 57 wholly and partially-owned subsidiaries on its website. If these were all spun off, some of them would, over time, be spinning off subsidiaries to their own shareholders.

What happens at HQ
At the Berkshire headquarters in Omaha Nebraska, Buffett has a staff of only twenty-four, all of whom occupy offices on the same floor. And what do they do? To quote Buffett:

...the 24 men and women who work with me at our corporate office... efficiently deal with a multitude of SEC and other regulatory requirements, file a 23,000-page Federal Income tax return as well as state and foreign returns, respond to countless shareholders and media inquiries, gets out the annual report, prepares for the country's largest annual meeting, coordinates the Board's activities-and the list goes on and on.

What does Warren Buffett, in consultation with his right-hand man Charlie Munger do? The answer is:

Operating decisions for the various Berkshire businesses are made by managers of the business units. Investment decisions and all other capital allocation decisions are made for Berkshire and its subsidiaries by Warren E. Buffett in consultation with Charles T. Munger.

Buffett has said that one of his criteria for acquiring a company is exceptionally high grade management already in place, because he can't supply it from headquarters. In this vein, Buffett has commented that he would hope, when he passes on, it will take an idiot to run any of Berkshire Hathaway's operating companies into the ground.

Here's what Buffett had to say about managing Berkshire in the 2012 Berkshire annual report (emphasis added):

I think it's appropriate that I conclude with a discussion of Berkshire's management, today and in the future. As our first owner-related principle tells you, Charlie and I are the managing partners of Berkshire. But we subcontract all of the heavy lifting in this business to the managers of our subsidiaries. In fact, we delegate almost to the point of abdication: Though Berkshire has about 330,000 employees, only 25 of these are at headquarters.

Charlie and I mainly attend to capital allocation and the care and feeding of our key managers. Most of these managers are happiest when they are left alone to run their businesses, and that is customarily how we leave them. That puts them in charge of all operating decisions and of dispatching the excess cash they generate to headquarters. By sending it to us, they don't get diverted by the various enticements that would come their way were they responsible for deploying the cash their businesses throw off. Furthermore, Charlie and I are exposed to a much wider range of possibilities for investing these funds than any of our managers could find in his or her own industry.

It is obvious to me, by using Warren Buffett's own verbiage, that most of Berkshire's operating companies would do very well on their own if they were spun off from the parent company.

The building in Omaha housing Berkshire's HQ. Photo: Jon Clee

Lack of trust?
Yet I find it interesting that, at the age of 83, Buffett still micromanages his far-flung corporate empire when it comes to capital allocation. Apparently he does not trust the operating company managers to make their own major capital allocations.

If we think about this realistically, there are so many corporate entities that Berkshire can distribute to shareholders that one would only have to worry about a very small minority of operating managers mis-allocating their capital and diluting their shareholder interest.

What I believe would be more likely is that we'd see these great managers by and large making reasonable capital allocation decisions. That is, reinvesting in the business as appropriate and using excess capital to pay dividends or buy back shares.

In closing
The combination of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway is undoubtedly one of the most impressive business stories of our lifetime. And Buffett has created an incredible amount of value for his loyal shareholders over the years. But now is the time to show the investment world just how much value there is in Berkshire by breaking the conglomerate apart.  

I ask those who, like me, follow this stock, to head to the comments section below and reply with their thoughts for and against the breakup of Berkshire Hathaway.

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Read/Post Comments (29) | Recommend This Article (23)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 10:57 AM, urche wrote:

    I have mixed agreement with the thesis of the article. I agree that shareholders would likely see increased value unlocked by selling some of the BRK parts. But, I think of BRK more as an anchor mutual fund in my portfolio than a company that needs expert management. As such, it seems to have been working well for a long time and I am comfortable holding it forever instead of mutual funds that would provide a proxy of the S+P 500.

    Urche

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 11:03 AM, willadol wrote:

    why change a winner??break up will not guarantee a winner the short pro's will have a ball at the expence of the little guy again.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 2:04 PM, rebozo2 wrote:

    The house that Warren built must stand. A breakup would invite the likes of Carl Icahn et al to butcher the individual companies and cheapen their products all in the name of a quick 'next quarter' payoff rather than allowing BH to continue it's rise. BH is not for day traders, shorts or pirates and I like it that way. The original concept continues to be valid for many; invest, wait patiently, cash in when you finally need it.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:03 PM, ejclason2 wrote:

    By being part of BRK, companies are shielded from pressure for short-term gains that most independent, shareholder owned, companies feel.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:17 PM, brybat wrote:

    Breaking up BRK will create present stock market value at the expense of future stock market value. It will also create a bunch of companies for BRK stockholders to follow instead of just one.

    Single companies are separately worth more than the whole. Everyone knows that. But isn't that the point?

    Warren Buffett now has a conglomerate with a built in margin of safety. The parts are worth more than the whole and that's a good thing. It should stay that way.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:21 PM, veritasvincit wrote:

    Thanks to the author for this article, as it's a valid point to consider for any publicly-held business, and worthy of debate. I am long BRK.B. Here are my arguments against a break-up:

    ~ Buffett buys businesses that meet his criteria, which include the caliber of management. But a business manager who consistently provides brilliant leadership in his/her industry in no way suggests brilliance in allocation of the profits not needed for reinvestment in that business. Look at the idiotic purchases made by countless CEOs who listened to investment bankers. Buffett has written about the 'institutional imperative'. Worth re-reading. The best major league pitchers occasionally hit home runs, but we don't ask or expect them to. I'm sure the managements of Berkshire businesses have some influence in CAPEX decisions.

    ~ To continue the metaphor, I think of Berkshire as a baseball card collector thinks about a case of cards from the 1950's. You don't know precisely whose in there, but you'd be crazy to open it, because it's worth so much more intact. There are so many other public companies out there that behave the way the author sees fit; trade those instead.

    ~ If investors want regular dividend income from their equity holdings, why on Earth did they buy Berkshire? Buffett and Munger are like parents with a passel of kids, clamoring for candy at meal time. They know that a sound diet is necessary for the children's health, even though it'd be easier to quiet them with sweets.

    ~ I ask the author to explain why "now is the time" to break up Berkshire. Why is a "dividend" a "bonanza" for all investors? Sounds like a tax "bonanza" for Uncle Sam.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:22 PM, TMFJCar wrote:

    Totally agreed with @rebozo2. Basically the premise of a breakup is that investors aren't smart enough to value a company as it is and with different tickers they will suddenly become wiser.

    If so, this hurts wise shareholders that actually read the 10ks and 10q and understand the underlying businesses. Eventually, the market will wise up and realize how to value the company.

    This is a short-term strategy, the "unlocking hidden value" seems to focus only the initial jump -- not sustainability. In addition, this forms lots of smaller companies that could be susceptible to corporate raiders that will angle for short-term gains. And even if there are tax advantages, good luck calculating all those cost bases.

    Also, you lose Warren's awesome capital allocation policies --- and the support of Warren's insurance business to provide that capital.

    Finally, I'm not sure that investors want the dividend when Warren's doing such a good job with it (not to mention the double taxation).

    The author references his awesome performance compared to the S&P 500. With that track record, why would you want earnings returned for you to try to do better with the money?

    It's an interesting premise (and it has some merit -- the "conglomerate discount" is real), but I personally like Berkshire as is. Again, that's just me.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 4:58 PM, Mega wrote:

    "Yet I find it interesting that, at the age of 83, Buffett still micromanages his far-flung corporate empire when it comes to capital allocation."

    Buffett is the Michael Jordan of capital allocation. The Bulls didn't win 6 titles by telling Jordan to pass the ball to Bill Wennington more often.

    Many of his managers are extremely capable, but few or none have demonstrated they are as good at capital allocation as he is.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 5:16 PM, Ravi786 wrote:

    By far this is the most illogical and pointless article that I have seen on this website. Breaking up Berkshire to realize its value because the pieces are valued higher than the whole ? Is the author forgetting that Berkshire is exploting this scenario to maximum advantage with sharebuybacks ? Further he talks abt Buffett micromanaging capital allocation ? The BRK shareholders and employees does not have a problem with it even when Buffett lost money.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 5:29 PM, awallejr wrote:

    I agree with the author but nothing will change until Buffett eventually passes on.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 6:09 PM, hheiserman wrote:

    This essay is an imaginative, counter-consensus view penned by the author of a Wall Street classic, "Quality of Earnings."

    http://www.amazon.com/Quality-Earnings-Thornton-L-Oglove/dp/...

    Billionaire Bill Ackman says Thornton Oglove's book is on his recommended reading list, along with books by Ben Graham and Peter Lynch.

    http://www.marketfolly.com/2012/07/bill-ackmans-recommended-...

    (Full disclosure: Mr. Oglove endorsed my book, "It's Earnings That Count," and he is also a family friend.)

    Now, as for Mr. Oglove's proposal to start divesting Berkshire's many parts now, while Mr. Buffett is still competent, numerous academic studies find this strategy creates substantial capital gains, as hidden value is unlocked and and talented managers have the chance to showcase their talents.

    http://www.spinoffresearch.com/spin-off-citations/

    This, Mr. Oglove's provocative scheme merits further attention.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 6:45 PM, 4Prophet wrote:

    Hi Thornton,

    Fresh perspectives are important to keeping investors’ perceptions as dynamic as the companies that they follow, so thank you for sharing your analysis.

    You might be right that Berkshire has become too large to create sustainable market-beating returns, but it is worth noting that Buffett and Munger disagree. This is a quote from Warren’s most recent letter to shareholders:

    “Charlie Munger, Berkshire’s vice chairman and my partner, and I believe both Berkshire’s book value and intrinsic value will outperform the S&P in years when the market is down or moderately up. We expect to fall short, though, in years when the market is strong – as we did in 2013. We have underperformed in ten of our 49 years, with all but one of our shortfalls occurring when the S&P gain exceeded 15%.

    Over the stock market cycle between yearends 2007 and 2013, we overperformed the S&P. Through full cycles in future years, we expect to do that again.”

    I think that you are correct that a breakup would unlock a significant amount of the current value for shareholders. However, it seems like killing the golden goose to get the one egg trapped inside. A seemingly good idea if you look at the value available this instant. If you would value the goose for its future returns, then you would see a tragic error.

    The “tax advantages” you tout as a reason to break BRK up seem peculiarly mislabeled if you are comparing to the alternative, which is to maintain the status quo, since that would offer the same “tax advantages”.

    The “dividend bonanza” is similar to the immediate advantage gained by a breakup. With these dividends being reinvested at consistently lofty rates of return, distributing them would seem to be myopic.

    There would likely be continued acquisition growth after a spin off, however the scope of the deals available to a company with an elephant gun are highly rarified, and have been a source of particularly valuable wealth creation. I fail to see what shareholders would gain by giving that up.

    You seem to be advocating continued spin-offs and acquisitions simultaneously. Frictional costs without justification wouldn’t benefit shareholders.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 7:11 PM, TheDumbMoney wrote:

    I am with those who think Berkshire works better as a synthesis. I think this is a short-term-looking proposal. As a Berkshire shareholder, I don't really care if the market isn't recognizing its value. I love that. I bought tons of shares in the last five years, including in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

    Companies in the Berkshire family are insulated from general market and bond conditions because they know they can rely on Uncle Berkshire for any short-term liquidity issues or capital needs in their businesses. See's Candies would not be a better company separate from Berkshire. It would be a small candy manufacturer that would no longer have a fortress behind it if there is a short-term problem.

    I echo the point above that being part of Berkshire allows its member companies to focus on long-term thinking, instead of the next quarterly report. Munger is all about incentives (no matter how good the person is) and this system positively incentivises sub-managers in a way that being a publicly traded independent company would not.

    Nor do I think is fair to say that Buffett micromanages anything. The company managers are given massive latitude. He just wants to know if somebody is going to spend a billion beans. There is really no evidence that he vetos things all of the time. He relies on the expertise of the managers of the companies, and just wants an explanation and to be kept in the loop and provide a sanity check.

    You mention tax advantages, but Berkshire is sitting on billions in unrealized gains in publicly traded shares of companies like Coke. Those would likely have to be sold, which would create tax liability. (Though it is possible they could be transferred to one of the split companies without a sale I suppose.)

    Berkshire trades at $128 today. I think it is quite possible that if split up, the combined companies would trade at something like $175 to $200 (I haven't calculated it). So at root this argument boils down to an attack on the conglomerate discount. But to somebody who wants to own Berkshire shares for a long time, the conglomerate discount is pretty not a huge deal. More often than not, it just allows you to get a good deal on shares.

    Thus, doing such a transaction would certainly privilege those holders of shares at the moment, but in the long term, it would deprive those holders and future holders of a relatively low risk way to cheaply invest in a broad swath of the economy. I for one will take the long term carrots over the short-term cheesecake.

    Caveat: I think where this discussion will become more relevant is after Buffett and Munger die. I think that if there is any serious underperformance in the five or so years after Buffett in particular dies, there will be TREMENDOUS pressure to break up the company. That won't happen as long as either Munger or Buffett is alive, but assuming they are both gone, it will likely be considered. That will be a time to consider whether any person can possibly fulfill Buffett's role, or whether the company should be broken up.

    Interestingly, that is an argument for BUYING the stock upon Buffett's death (which I plan to do). That is because after he dies we will be faced with two options: 1) either someone else runs it well, which is good; or 2) the company eventually gets broken up releasing tons of value as these companies all are more accurately valued independently by the market, which is also good.

    As for option two, I recognize there would be severe (and justified) internal institutional pressure opposing a breakup even during a period of underperformance. I recognize that it might take five-to-ten years to see it happen, but I think it would eventually happen. However, I think the more likely scenario is that Buffett, who has done so much else right, manages to select a good caretaker. And the beauty of Berkshire is that it does not need Steve Jobs in order to be run well. Unlike an Apple or a Microsoft, and great capital allocator and caretaker is all it really needs.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 7:34 PM, apatel wrote:

    The author fails to recognize that Berkshire's large Insurance operation's (Geico, GenRE, etc.) derive their unparalleled "strength" from these same operating companies that the author would "spin off". If that would happen, by definition the pillar of strength that is Berkshire Hathway Insurance would weaken and be just like every other insurance comapany and would not be able to withstand large insurance payouts that obviously occur from time to time. A basic understanding of Berkshire's Insurance operation is lacking by the author.

    Berskhire is run in a way to deliver long term results, these kinds of idiotic authors will write this nonsense every year. Berkshire Hathway is a wonderful way to have acces to a levergaed portfolio, without outsized risk. I'm a shareholder for the rest of my life, and I hope not to break up this wonderful human enteprise.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 8:53 PM, hheiserman wrote:

    Dear apatel,

    1. When you call the author an idiot, you embarrass yourself. Why don't you identify yourself, instead of hiding behind a nom de plume?

    2. Please provide an Amazon link to your investment classic.

    3. Please explain how BRK's insurance operations derive "unparalleled [sic] strength" from the operating companies.

    4. What is a) BRK's intrinsic value, and b) what are your key assumptions?

    hewitt

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 9:20 PM, brybat wrote:

    "2. Please provide an Amazon link to your investment classic." Really?

    I was thinking about buying your "investment classic" but it seems that any increase in sales would only make your head bigger.

    Perhaps you were only defending your friend and got carried away or maybe you just aren't as smart as you think.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 10:15 PM, kfchild41 wrote:

    Thanks to the author of this article (NOT) . I'm sure Warren is having a good laugh at you that is if he took the time to read the article. Your a idiot.

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 10:49 PM, apatel wrote:

    @hheiserman : I will attempt to back up my assertions against your questions.

    2. I apologize for using the word "idiotic". I'm hoping to engage in meaningful dialogue, and for that I concur that my use of that term was unnecessary.

    3. "Please explain how BRK's insurance operations offer "Unparalled [sic] strength" from the operating companies"

    Please look at

    Page 8 of 2013 Annual Report. I believe this quote from Mr. Buffett explains my point of view.

    "For example, if the insurance industry should experience a $250 billion loss from some mega-catastrophe - a loss about triple anything it has ever experienced - Berkshire as a whole would likely record a significant profit for the year because of its many streams of earnings. And we would remain awash in cash , looking for large companies if the catastrophe caused markets to go into shock. All other major insurers and reinsurers would meanwhile be far in the red, with some facing insolvency."

    4. "what is a) BRK intrinsic value, and b) what are your key assunmptions.

    2010 annual report -Page 6

    "Intrinsic Value - Today and Tomorrow"

    Again, another quote from Mr. Buffett explains how I value the company. Please read how he uses the "two pillar" approach to valuation from the above 2010 annual report , page 6.

    I use updated data from year end 2013.

    Per share investments= $129,253

    Pre-tax operating earnings from businesses other than insurance= $9,116

    I apply a 10X multiple to those earnings = $91,160

    Sum of the two buckets of value = $220,413/share

  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 11:16 PM, TMFTomGardner wrote:

    Ted,

    Thanks for a very interesting article. Its beauty is that it causes everyone to think.

    Will Thorndike's book "The Outsiders" provides some fascinating examples.

    It seems to me that Henry Singleton would completely agree with you. But he went to the extreme -- just keep spinning off assets and then ride off into the sunset.

    Buffett was a huge admirer of Singleton. Anyone who would wave off the ideas you share in this article without a thought. . doesn't understand that just what you suggest has happened. . and Buffett admires it.

    My only useful suggestion to Berkshire is that they develop succession around youthful leadership with long-term incentives. . that gives them a runway of 25-40 years to run the company. That's much healthier for a company like this. . than to pass it to someone/some team that might run things for the next 10 years.

    There's no doubt in my mind that what you suggest would unlock value. However, it would also undermine the reputation that the company has built that attracts owners to sell into Berkshire, knowing their asset will be held forever. This might hurt the acquisition side of their business. I wonder, in fact, if Buffett will install rules against selling assets off by his successors. If not, this might all happen then.

    I really enjoyed this article. You are a true Fool.

    Tom Gardner

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 3:46 AM, allenrodger wrote:

    Thank you for this information , this is very useful for everyone. I have also find out some other updates about this great person "12 Reasons Warren Buffett Is an Incredible Investor and How You Can Learn From Him http://lnkd.in/bpkj9Bj"

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 7:35 AM, hheiserman wrote:

    Brybat -

    Mr. Oglove's book is the "classic"...please re-read my first comment.

    ***

    Apatel -

    We agree on the importance of BRK's insurance operations having unparalleled strength.

    But...BRK has four separate businesses, "each [with] vastly different balance sheet and income characteristics from the others," as Mr. Buffett explains on pg. 7 of the 2013 annual report. Thus, Gen Re doesn't depend on MidAmerican, and GEICO doesn't need Nebraska Furniture Mart.

    ***

    Sadly, Mr. Buffett's life expectancy is just seven years. So what intrigues me about Mr. Oglove's proposal is that history's greatest capital allocator manages the spin-offs now, while he is alive and mentally sharp--rather than waiting for an activist hedge fund manager, investment banker or lawyer, who is not as sensitive to the BRK culture, attempts to break up the sprawling conglomerate at some later date.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 8:27 AM, Maraith wrote:

    Isn't this the 80's/90's thinking of Icahn and others who destroyed the cow in order to get more milk for a month?

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 8:42 AM, AnsgarJohn wrote:

    First he wants Berkshire Hathaway to be the biggest in the world. If the share price falls to under 1,2 x book, there will be serious share buybacks, which at that cheap level is good for existing shareholders: "Like shooting fish in barrel, with the water taken out."

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 8:46 AM, AnsgarJohn wrote:

    @Apatal makes a good point-> See "Float and Moat PDF" on Internet. Markel is another example. Biglari Holdings might be in the future.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 9:48 AM, ryanalexanderson wrote:

    Just wanted to say I'm impressed with the courtesy in the comments - I was expecting a lot more name calling, but that's probably the difference between BRK investor profiles and momentum-chasers.

    There's only been two instances of name-calling - and one of them was followed by a sincere apology! Nice.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 12:00 PM, FoolTheRest wrote:

    Thornton,

    Thank you for the article. I appreciate reading point of view which differ from mine. I appreciate you helping me rethink my beliefs from time to time.

    FTR

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 12:05 PM, brybat wrote:

    hheiseman,

    ."2. Please provide an Amazon link to your investment classic." Really?

    Somehow, in what seemed to me to be an awkward advertisement for your book I got confused.

    What you really meant to say was that someone who doesn't have an "investment classic" should not be taken seriously, including Apatel.

    Thanks for telling me you did not write an "investment classic. Therefore your opinion has just as much importance as most people posting on The Motley Fool.

    I prefer Apatel's ideas more than your ideas in this case. In a future topic I may change sides.

    I am seeking the truth. So called "experts" are wrong often enough.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2014, at 12:20 PM, 2late2soon wrote:

    There may be an hidden value that could be unlocked through spinning off operating companies. But, how much value would each company lose, on the other hand, for not being part of the best conglomerate in the world? All those operating companies benefit from that intangible advantage and that is reflected on their ability to keep being profitable and creating value. Breaking up could generate a short term opportunity but, on the long term would be a mistake.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2014, at 7:09 PM, cmarks wrote:

    Do I want dividends to reinvest? Or do I want Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway to reinvest that money for me (at no cost to me)? It's an easy choice.

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