Photo by Fortune Live Media/Flickr
Warren Buffett, an American tycoon, has dismissed speculation that he is putting in place some plans to step down as the boss of Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate. Buffett insisted that he has “never felt better.”
The famed annual letter of the “Oracle of Omaha” to the shareholders of Berkshire is now a favourite in the investor calendar. However, it has attracted increased interest this year amid rumours that the 87-year-old billionaire would reveal plans to step down.
Last January, Buffett promoted long-time Berkshire executives Greg Abel and Ajit Jain to vice-chairmen as a “part of a move to succession over time.” Last Friday, he also stepped down from the board of Kraft Heinz, the food and drinks giant. However, yesterday, he was tight-lipped on succession.
The well-known billionaire investor utilised his letter to shareholders to blame high valuations for the recent “drought” of deals of Berkshire. However, he revealed that the tax cuts of Donald Trump had provided a boost of $29bn to its war chest to help in making “huge acquisitions” in 2018.
Buffett lamented frothy asset prices for reducing the recent acquisition activity of Berkshire. He admitted that the challenge in looking for a “sensible purchase price” had “proved a barrier to virtually all deals” in 2017.
Kraft Heinz was backed by Buffet. It attempted to snap up Unilever, the consumer goods giant that is listed in London, in a massive £115bn bid in 2017 and accused an “ample availability of extraordinarily cheap debt” for promoting spending sprees, comparing the deal-hungry bosses to lustful teenagers.
He claimed that the prices for “far from spectacular” firms have soared to an all-time high and the increase in asset valuations “seemed almost irrelevant to an army of optimistic purchasers.”