Warren Buffett (born August 30 1930) is a businessman and U.S. investor. Nicknamed the "Oracle of Omaha", he is one of the richest men in the world since the turn of the century. In March 2008, with a fortune estimated at 62 billion U.S. dollars, it is considered the richest man in the world according to the annual ranking of Forbes magazine. Since 2002, year in which it had $ 35 billion, he almost doubled his fortune.
Warren Edward Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Howard Buffett, was traded broker and member of Congress. Buffett studied at the University of Nebraska and had a master's in economics at Columbia University. He returned to Omaha in 1957 and began to manage stock portfolios, bringing together money from friends and acquaintances, his family and hers. From 1969, its investments have produced gains of almost 30% on average per year in a market where the average was 7 to 11% and where everything that was beyond was exceptional. Editor Buffett, Berkshire has outperformed the references markets such as the S & P 500 and Dow Jones for more than forty years (this is an exceptional performance given that over 80% of investors do not beat their market index) .
He married Susan Thompson in 1952. They separated in 1977 but never divorced. This major shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and board member died on Thursday 29 July 2004 of a heart attack. Buffett lives with Astrid Menke, its last partner from the separation from his wife. He has three children one of whom is a farmer in Nebraska and another composer of new age music. Warren Buffett has clearly not yet named his successor as head of his company, his children not inherit his entire fortune, he plans to pay a large majority to a charity, the Bill and -Melinda-Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), as did his friend Bill Gates.
Buffett used to concentrate its investments in undervalued companies with good growth potential in the long term. The challenge is to identify such companies. The real value produced by these companies - it owns - is greater than its stock investments, although its share in companies such as Coca-Cola - whose Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareholder - and Gillette attract more attention. Buffett avoids high-tech firms, not because they are themselves less attractive, but because he prefers to invest in industries he understands.
Through Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett also owns insurance companies and reinsurance as Geico and General Re that generate substantial capital (Float) derived from insurance premiums. These companies are sources of funds it allocates them to subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway and it uses to acquire new businesses. Warren Buffett is the largest shareholder of railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), which holds 11%.
Warren Buffett continues to live in the house of Omaha, Nebraska, he paid 31 500 dollars in 1957.
Not content to be a major investor in Coca-Cola is also a big fan of its products. In his letter to shareholders in 1991, Buffett said that five-cans of Cherry Coke a day.
On 18 September 2008, he bought the company Constellation Energy for $ 4.7 billion (3.3 billion euros) taking advantage of the sharp decline of Constellation under 58% during the past week.
On 23 September 2008, he decided to invest U.S. $ 5 billion of perpetual preferred shares in the U.S. bank Goldman Sachs.
His vision of investment and economic
Regarding his personal life, Warren Buffett is known to be somewhat wasteful. He is paid only $ 100 000 each year by Berkshire Hathaway, according to its own choice. Its volume of net disposable income comes from other personal investments outside of Berkshire, although they constitute less than 1% of its overall net value (Berkshire has not paid dividends for decades). He made donations through the Buffett Foundation, usually around $ 12 million per year. He indicated his intention to distribute 99% of his fortune after his death, to charity. In June 2006, he indicated that the majority of his fortune of 44 billion dollars would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates-(Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
Buffett believes that much of the problems of the economy of the United States and other industrialized countries in recent years, resulting from the proliferation of individuals and organizations that produce nothing directly but offset by the volume of cases they handle. He believes that the majority of sales of action is related to recommendations of analysts mostly to the benefit of analysts themselves rather than investors. He refuses to duplicate immutably ( "split") shares of Berkshire Hathaway because it would facilitate trade, which he does not want to.
He says he sees the Berkshire Hathaway investors as partners and hopes they consider their investment as long term or perpetual, and it discourages those who have a short-term to invest in Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett is generally favorable views of the Democratic Party. Indeed, it has been very critical of tax policy in the administration of George W. Bush and was announced as economic adviser to the presidential campaign of John Kerry in 2004. Buffett says that the Bush tax policy unfairly ponctionne the middle class. His position in favor of inheritance tax have given him a reputation as a progressive. For the American presidential election of 2008, it supports both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and helps to raise funds, "they would either good job," he said. However, it is also adviser to the Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
His succession at the head of Berkshire Hathaway
His main business partner is Charlie Munger, 6 years older.
Buffett wrote the letter to shareholders included in the annual report of Berkshire Hathaway (available in English on the website of Berkshire Hathaway).
Warren Buffett announced on Sunday 25 June 2006 its intention to deliver some 37 billion dollars, or 28.6 billion euros to the Bill and Melinda Gates-(Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and members of his own family. The decision, covering more than 80% of his fortune, is the largest individual donation ever made to the United States ahead of other widely philanthropists in history.
It also participates in many other campaigns, including an auction of a ukulele, instrument Warren Buffett is a big fan.
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