Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, announced today that the company's annual meeting will be held without shareholders present this year. The move is being made in line with other event cancellations in order to avoid large crowd gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Berkshire's meeting is typically attended by tens of thousands of shareholders. The Omaha, Nebraska meeting is also set up as a convention hall shopping event displaying many of the Berkshire-owned brands, including Dairy Queen, See's Candies, and Fruit of the Loom among others.
Woodstock for capitalists
The event has become an annual destination for many business people and shareholders. Buffett expressed his feelings, saying "I very much regret this action; for many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger."
The announcement stressed the need to avoid large gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus spread, saying the company didn't want to put employees, shareholders, or the Omaha community at risk.
The meeting will, however, proceed as scheduled on May 2, 2020. Buffett said that he will attend as well as several Berkshire employees needed to provide proxy votes. His partner Charlie Munger will possibly attend. The meeting will be streamed by Yahoo, which has covered the event in the past.
A question and answer session with Buffett and Munger is normally a highlight of the event. He said a decision on whether some journalists will still attend to pose previously submitted questions is being considered.