On Friday, Warren Buffett-backed Berkshire Hathaway
"Maybe now the Street will acknowledge the power of Berkshire Hathaway and give us some coverage," said the effusive Buffett. "Our pro forma inter alia ex post facto results were even better, particularly since GAAP clearly constrains our ability to properly value our derivatives portfolio," explained Buffett. Given the adjustments for bad stuff, including stock-based compensation, we made more than $5.6 million per share."
Buffett surprised shareholders by proposing a 7,200-for-1 stock split, explaining that Berkshire needs "liquidity in our stock to fuel our expansion," and the lower stock price "so that our new option plan makes sense. What good is giving options to everyone if you can only do it in $70,000 chunks? If we're going to align the interest of shareholders and company insiders, we've got to do this right."
Buffett expects the adoption of stock-option based compensation to improve earnings by 8%-10% per year. When asked about dilution from options approaching 6% per year, Buffett was unapologetic, saying "Why not, they're free!"
Buffett is mystified as to why Berkshire shares have foundered while the broad stock market has rallied since March. "The Street just doesn't get us. I've said it a million times, but I guess I'll have to say it again. We're a growth company. We grow earnings more than 15% per year. We're past the magic number, and on an EBITDA basis, we have really cheap multiples. G-R-O-T-H, growth."
Buffett also took the opportunity to introduce several new executives, including new VPs for Investor Relations, Corporate Communications, and Mergers & Acquisitions, along with EVPs for Finance, Human Resources, and Compensation. New regional managers will oversee Berkshire's wide-ranging subsidiaries.
Finally, Buffett announced that Berkshire Hathaway has elected to move its Omaha, Nebraska headquarters to a $650 million state-of-the art corporate campus in Sunnyvale, California. Because all expenses and debt from the relocation will be assigned to a special purpose entity, Herkshire Bathaway, shareholders should expect reported earnings to be affected not at all.
For the upcoming quarter, Berkshire Hathaway announced that its new pension accounting assumptions will be increased to 11% growth per year. "Hey, I'm Warren Buffett. 11% per year? No problem."
Bill Mann owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool is here to educate, AMUSE, and enrich.