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No fizz in Coke's stock

February 25, 2006 | About:

Legendary investor Warren Buffett professes to drink five Cherry Cokes a day and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns a whopping 8 percent of the Coca-Cola Company.

So when Buffett recently resigned from Coke's board of directors, saying he needed more time for his other duties, investors took notice. What were the real reasons underlying his departure?

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Buffett was not the only board member to leave recently -- Coke (Research) has three seats to fill at its next annual meeting after its two youngest members also signaled they will step down.

But Buffett reassured Wall Street somewhat by saying that he is not selling any of the company's stock. As such, Matthew Reilly, an equity analyst with Morningstar, wrote in a recent report that he thinks Buffett's move is more likely a sign that he is comfortable with Coke's management team.

Coke's managers will have their work cut out for them: the company's stock price has fallen nearly 20 percent over the last two years, while arch rival Pepsi's (Research) shares have gained 12 percent.

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