For years, Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway's
He wasn't kidding. On Thursday, Berkshire offered to buy Wesco, where Munger is also chairman and CEO, for book value.
Again, this was no surprise. As a recent Wesco regulatory filing clearly states: "At the Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders, the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Charles T. Munger ... said that it would be logical for the Company to ultimately become wholly owned by Berkshire."
Financially, this means relatively nothing for Berkshire shareholders. Wesco's operations are very similar to Berkshire's exisiting subsidiaries, and buying the rest of Wesco amounts to a $460 million transaction, which I believe is what they call "coffee money" at Berkshire.
But the sheer tragedy of this acquisition lies in the likely end of the annual Wesco shareholder meetings in Pasadena. It's actually misleading to call these shareholder meetings; they were really just free, open-to-the-public chances to hear Munger hold forth for three hours on whatever happened to be on his mind.
At Berkshire's high-profile annual meetings in Omaha, Munger remains mostly quiet and politically correct, piping in with an occasional "nothing to add" quip to Buffett's answers.
At Wesco's meetings, which drew a few hundred people and no media attention, Munger let the cannons loose. He coupled wise bits of investment advice with analysis of Hitler's economic policies, musings on why cap-and-trade is a disastrous idea, and warnings to children that success in life is nothing without an active avoidance of venereal disease.
I've always thought these gatherings were some of the most informative and worthwhile investment meetings out there. They will surely be missed.
Fool contributor Morgan Housel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.