Buffett calls health bill a giveaway to wealthy

16 May, 2017, 10:18 | Author: Valerie Burke

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc.is a major shareholder of United and other big US airlines, said Monday, May 8, 2017, that the recent spotlight on poor customer service in the airline industry doesn't change his investment strategy.

"They have followed the standard capitalist formula ... of trying to do the same business with fewer people", Buffett said.

At the Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting on Saturday, Buffett said that he failed to understand that Google was going to be this huge. "The main problem was they didn't act when they learned about it", he said of Well Fargo.

Wells Fargo, whose largest shareholder is Berkshire with near 10% stake worth roughly $US27 billion, gave employees too much autonomy to engage in "cross-selling" multiple products to meet sales goals, Buffett told the meeting.

Separately, Buffett expressed regret over his failure to invest early in Internet search company Google, now part of Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O , saying "I should have some insight into" what became an "extraordinary business" with attributes of a monopoly.

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"We missed it entirely. We got it wrong on IBM and will find out whether we are wrong on Apple", Buffett said.

The executives who run Berkshire subsidiaries look forward to the meeting just as the shareholders do. With the release of the iPhone 8 looming, investors may still see significant upside by following the travails of one of the best investors of all time.

"I want to hear him talk about the economy and investing", Weber said. "I can learn very easily how consumers react to different things there", he said, referring to Berkshire's ownership of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

"I think it's a neat way to keep the enthusiasm up in shareholders", said Jerry Meyer, who drove to Omaha with family from Coffeyville, Kansas.

Several questions homed in on politics, and Buffett, a Democrat with close ties to former President Barack Obama, offered measured criticism of President Donald Trump's policies. While Buffett met Mr Peanut at the Kraft Heinz booth, Miami Dolphin player Ndamukong Suh wandered about 1m away without a crowd.

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