Warren Buffett Interview Before Shareholder Meeting; David Sokol

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May 04, 2012
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Liz Claman live from Omaha, NE on the eve of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. Buffet said Berkshire Hathaway is “paying significant legal fees every month in the range of 150 to 200 thousand dollars” to defend former Lubrizol head David Sokol in the SEC investigation. Buffett goes on to take sole responsibility for the decision to purchase IBM saying “it was my idea, but if it doesn’t work ,we will say it was Charlie’s.” He went on to say he “ventured a ways out” in buying a technology stock like IBM and if he were to buy the Facebook IPO his “doctor would require a checkup.” As for his health, Buffett says he’s “100%. I don’t feel any different.”

On whether there are any developments into the SEC investigation into former Lubrizol head David Sokol:

“None that I know of but that was the last time, well the only time I talked to the SEC was in June of last year. They came out it was informal, in fact it wasn’t recorded, they asked a bunch of questions. I gave them the answers, and that’s the last I’ve heard. I know we are paying significant legal fees every month in the range of 150 to 200 thousand dollars a month to his lawyers. We have to pay his lawyers until there’s a final adjudication, if there is one.”

On how he’s feeling following his announcement of having stage 1 cancer:

“100%. I don’t feel any different anyway. Energy level, anything. It’s really at my age, it’s one of the good things about being 81. It’s the time to get it. I’ve gotten lots of mail, but usually they say welcome to the club.”

On their succession plan and AFL-CIO proposal:

“I am curious as to who is going to successes the president of the AFL-CIO. It will be very interesting. If you look at Exxon Mobile, you look at Apple, you look at the companies we own, American Express, Coca-cola, American Express Wells Fargo, I don’t know who the next person is going to be I just know that the board, that’s one of their jobs to take care of that.”

On how he decided to purchase IBM and whether he consulted his investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Wechsler:

“It was my idea, but if it doesn’t work ,we will say it was Charlie’s. They did not know I was buying it. I did not tell them. Charlie didn’t know I was buying it until about half way in. I don’t talk to Ted and Todd about what I am buying or selling. We all go our own way on that.”

On whether he would buy a share of Facebook with the launch of the new IPO:

“No. I ventured a ways out to buy IBM. Facebook would be; my doctor would require a checkup then.”

On whether the Federal Reserve has taken the right steps to help the economy:

“It has. They saw a country in free fall three and a half years ago and they had to act in a big way and convince the public they had the will and ability to step in. They did the right thing”

On whether the actions of the Federal Reserve are setting us up for inflation down the line:

“That’s fairly likely. If you could keep rates at this level and pour money into the economy and there were no side effect, we would have been doing it a long time ago. There are side effects but they are delayed.”

On the 2012 presidential election:

“Obama is the favorite, but it will depend on economy. He will get credit for whichever direction it goes. Everything I see says the economy improving.”

On whether he still supports President Obama 100%:


On expected attendance this year:

“The tickets were a record breaker, but not by much. I think we’ll have about 35,000.”