Will there ever be another investor quite like Warren Buffett? We asked three of our analysts who could be the next "oracle" and here is what they had to say.
Leo Sun: Guo Guangchang, the co-founder and chairman of Fosun Group, which is China's largest privately owned conglomerate, is often called the "Warren Buffett of China."
Guo was given that nickname by the Chinese media, but he told CNBC last April that he preferred to be considered an "apprentice" instead. Fosun owns a diversified portfolio of real estate, pharmaceuticals, tourism, retail, insurance, and other investments. Guo stated that he is a follower of Buffett's investment methods, and that Fosun's insurance investments were inspired by Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-A)(NYSE:BRK-B)investments in insurers like GEICO. Since 2010, Fosun also spent billions on acquiring foreign firms like American clothing label St. John and Greek luxury jeweler Folli Follie, and intends to buy more healthcare, tourism, and fashion companies in the U.S. and Europe.
But unlike Buffett (save his occasional economic adviser roles), Guo is a politician. As a member of China's National People's Congress since 2003, Guo aggressively pursued pro-business policies, including a venture capital arm in Silicon Valley which provides financial services to tech and life science companies. Guo's net worth of $3.1 billion comes nowhere close to matching Buffett's $71.9 billion, but he's definitely one of the brightest investors to follow in China.
Jordan Wathen: Sardar Biglari, CEO of Biglari Holdings (NYSE:BH), is a big fan of Warren Buffett. They share a birthday, their corporate entities share the same initials (BH), and even Biglari Holdings' corporate website is structured much like Berkshire Hathaway's, as ugly as it may be.
Biglari Holdings grows in similar strides to Berkshire Hathaway, folding in distinctly different businesses under one corporate umbrella. On one side, there's folksy Steak 'n Shake, on the other is Maxim magazine. Look deeper and you'll find a small insurance operation. The more you follow Biglari, the more you realize he's building an odd collection of businesses much like Buffett did, with the sole goal of big returns.
But then the two begin to diverge. For one, Biglari has no issue with public feuds. For several years he's waged a very unfriendly, very public, activist campaign to acquire or force the sale of Cracker Barrel, something Buffett certainly wouldn't do. And he's no Buffett when it comes to his compensation -- Biglari runs his firm as if it were a publicly traded hedge fund, fees and all.
If nothing else, Biglari is worth watching because he's a real, live case study. Can Biglari, who is undoubtedly less friendly to his shareholders, and at times arrogant and unsettling in his demeanor, create the same results as a softer, gentler Buffett? I'm not sure, but grab the popcorn -- if he's not a great investor, he's at least a great entertainer.
Matt Frankel: Maybe the most logical choice for the "next Warren Buffett(s)" is Berkshire's two rock star stock pickers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.
If for no other reason, praise from Buffett suggests these two have an extremely bright future ahead of them. During the company's most recent letter to shareholders, Buffet said that the pair made Berkshire billions of dollars that they wouldn't have made otherwise, and he told CNBC that the two have a "fundamental combination of soundness and brilliance."
The amount of Berkshire's money under their control has steadily risen, and currently stands at about $14 billion. When Buffett is gone from Berkshire, Ted and Todd will be in control of Berkshire's entire stock portfolio, currently worth more than $100 billion.
Considering that Todd Combs' picks have more than doubled over the last four years (including an incredible 51% return last year) and Ted Weschler's have returned 81% in three years, it's safe to say that these two will have the chance to make some serious Buffett-like money in the future.
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