5 key highlights from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting 2024

This was the first Berkshire annual meeting without Munger, who died last year at 99. Buffet fondly remembered Munger as the “architect of Berkshire” in his tribute to him, underscoring his significant role in the company’s success throughout the years.

Also Read: Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Q1 operating profit rises 39% to $11.22 billion, net income drops 64% YoY

Let’s take a look at the five key highlights from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting

1. On Succession: Greg Abel to be in charge of investment decisions

Giving rest to speculations, Warren Buffett said Greg Abel, 61, who will be taking over the CEO job at Berkshire Hathaway, will control Berkshire Hathaway’s investing decisions, including its stock portfolio, after him.

“I think the responsibility ought to be entirely with Greg. The responsibility has been with me, and I farmed out some of it, and I used to think differently about how that would be handled, but I think the responsibility should be that of the CEO,” said Buffett, as quoted by CNBC.com.

Abdel, vice chairman of the non-insurance operation, whose name was revealed as Buffett’s successor at the shareholder meeting in 2021, has been managing a significant portion of Berkshire’s investments, including energy and retail.

Also Read: Warren Buffett accidentally calls Greg Abel ‘Charlie Munger’; netizens say ‘they were incredibly…’

2. Berkshire trims investment in Apple

Berkshire Hathaway trimmed its stake in Apple for the second consecutive quarter as it reduced its investment in tech-giant Apple by around 13 per cent in the first quarter.

Berkshire sold about 10 million shares of Apple, or 1 per cent of its stake in the tech firm, in the last quarter of 2023. Berkshire again sold about 116 million Apple shares, or 13 per cent stake in the company, in the first quarter of the current year.

Also Read: Buffett reassures succession plans at Berkshire Hathaway; praises Apple despite stake redduction

Nevertheless, at the end of the January-March quarter, Apple was Berkshire’s biggest holding. Buffett said the stake sale was for tax purposes, and Apple may remain Berkshire’s largest holding at the end of the year.

Also Read: Apple remains Berkshire Hathaway’s biggest holding despite 13% stake cut in Q1, current bet worth $135 billion

3. AI scamming the next big “growth industry”

Warren Buffett believes that artificial intelligence (AI) scamming could be the next big “growth industry”.

At Berkshire’s annual meeting, Buffett highlighted the potential of AI for scamming people due to its ability to create convincing fake images and messages. Scammers could use this technology to trick people into sending money by making fake pleas for help, like pretending to be a family member in trouble.

“When you think about the potential for scamming people, if you can reproduce images that I can’t even tell, that say, ‘I need money,’ as your daughter, ‘I just had a car crash, I need $50,000 wired.’ I mean, scamming has always been part of the American scene, but this would make me, if I was interested in investing in scamming, it’s going to be the growth industry of all time,” CNBC quoted Buffett saying so.

4. The entire stake in Paramount sold at a loss

Taking a 100 per cent ownership of the decision, Buffett said Berkshire sold the entire stake in Paramount Global at a loss.

Berkshire owned 63.3 million shares of Paramount at the end of 2023 after cutting about a third of its stake in the company in Q4 last year.

5. Positive about India

Buffett appeared positive about India. He said there were “loads of opportunities in a place like India”. Berkshire, however, does not have immediate plans for large investments in other countries, Buffett said.

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Published: 05 May 2024, 09:00 AM IST

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