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Buffett will turn 90 later this year, and in recent years there’s been questions about Berkshire Hathaway’s succession plans. “Berkshire without me is worth essentially the same as Berkshire with me. My value added is not high, but I don’t think I’m subtracting value,” Buffett said.
“I feel very good about the banks we own. They’re very attractive compared to most other securities I see,” Buffett said. Banks are a big part of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio, which is worth more than $248 billion. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, BNY Mellon, and U.S. Bancorp were all among Berkshire’s 15 largest stock holdings.
Berkshire has been selling its stake in Wells Fargo, and Buffett said that the the bank is a “classic in terms of one lesson,” which is that the company should have attacked the problem “immediately.” “They had an obviously very dumb incentive system â¦ the big thing is they ignored it when they found out about it.” Buffett said that shareholders would be “a lot better off” if the bad practices weren’t ignored, which was a “total disaster.”
While some have said that Berkshire Hathaway’s businesses could be more profitable if the conglomerate were to split, Buffett said that would actually be bad for business. “You can have spin offs â¦ you cannot dispose of the entire business without having very substantial tax liabilities,” he argued. “It would not produce a gain. Having them together, however, produces very valuable synergies.”
“There would not be a profit if we were simply to announce that over the next 24 months you could come in and buy any business we had and we would sell to the highest bidder,” he added.