Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s assistant at Berkshire Hathaway, dies at 99


Omaha, Neb. (AP) – Charlie Munger, who helped Warren Buffett build Berkshire Hathaway into an investment powerhouse, has died in a California hospital. He was 99 years old.

Berkshire Hathaway said in a statement that Munger’s family told the company that he died in hospital on Tuesday morning, exactly a month before his 100th birthday.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its current position without Charlie’s inspiration, knowledge and involvement,” Buffett said in a statement. The famous investor also dedicated some of his their annual letter Berkshire shareholders paid tribute to Munger earlier this year.

Munger served as Buffett’s sounding board on investment and business decisions and helped lead Berkshire for more than five decades and served as its longtime vice chairman.

Munger had been using a wheelchair for mobility for many years but was mentally sharp. This was demonstrated when he asked questions for hours berkshire annual meetings And this Daily Journal Corp., earlier this year, and in recent interviews on investing podcast And also with the Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

Munger preferred to stay in the background and let Buffett become the face of Berkshire, and he often downplayed his contribution to the company’s remarkable success.

But Buffett always credited Munger for pushing him beyond his early value investing strategies to buy great businesses at good prices, like See’s Candy.

Buffett said in 2008, “Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and about human nature.”

Buffett’s early successes were based on what he learned from former Columbia University professor Ben Graham. He would buy stock in companies that were selling cheaply, below the value of their assets, and then, when the market price improved, sell the shares.

Munger and Buffett began buying Berkshire Hathaway shares at $7 and $8 per share in 1962, and in 1965 they took control of the New England textile mill. Over time, both men transformed Berkshire into the conglomerate it is today. professions Along with purchasing other companies such as Geico Insurance and BNSF Railroad, it also maintained A high-profile stock portfolio With major investments in Apple and Coca-Cola. Shares rose to $546,869 on Tuesday, and many investors became rich by holding the stock.

Munger gave a wide-ranging interview to CNBC earlier this month in preparation for his 100th birthday, and the business network showed the clip from that Tuesday. In his typical self-deprecating way, Munger said the secret to Berkshire’s success was avoiding mistakes and continuing to do well throughout his and Buffett’s 90s.

“We’re a little less crazy than most people and a little less stupid than most people and that really helped us,” Munger said. He went into more detail about the reasons for Berkshire’s success special letter he wrote in 2014 to mark 50 years of helping lead the company.

Throughout the time they worked together, Buffett and Manger lived more than 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) apart, but Buffett said he would call Manger in Los Angeles or Pasadena to consult him on every major decision he made.

“He will be greatly missed by many people, perhaps none more than Mr. Buffett, who relied heavily on his wisdom and advice. I was jealous of their friendship. They challenged each other, yet seemed to really enjoy being in each other’s company, said Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan.

Berkshire will probably be fine without Munger, but there’s no way to replace him, said CFRA Research analyst Kathy Seifert. Role He played. After all, Munger may be one of the few people in the world willing to tell Buffett he’s wrong about something.

“The most obvious impact, I think, is going to be over the next several years as we see Buffett go on without him,” Seifert said.

Munger grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, about five blocks from Buffett’s current home, but since Munger is seven years older, the two men did not meet in childhood, even though both worked at Buffett’s grandfather and uncle’s grocery store. Were.

When the two men met at an Omaha dinner party in 1959, Munger was practicing law in Southern California and Buffett was running an investment partnership in Omaha.

According to the definitive book biography of Munger, “Poor Charlie’s Almanac: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger”, Buffett and Munger spoke at that initial meeting and then remained in touch through frequent telephone calls and long letters. .

The two men shared investment ideas and occasionally bought into the same companies during the 1960s and 70s. They became the two largest shareholders in one of their common investments, the trading stamp maker Blue Chip Stamp Company, and through it acquired See’s Candy, Buffalo News, and Wesco. Munger became vice chairman of Berkshire in 1978 and chairman and president of Wesco Financial in 1984.

The vast number of dedicated Berkshire shareholders who regularly packed the Omaha grounds to hear the two men speak will remember the sarcastic quip Munger made while answering questions with Buffett. annual meetings,

Munger was known for repeating “I have nothing to add” after Buffett’s many detailed answers at Berkshire meetings. But Mungar also often gave sharp answers that got straight to the heart of an issue, such as the advice he gave in 2012 about finding a good investment.

He said, “If there’s a really high commission on it, don’t bother looking at it.”

Investor Whitney Tilson has attended Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings for the past 26 years so she could learn from Munger and Buffett, who imparted investing tips as well as life lessons. Tilson said Munger advised that after achieving some success “your whole attitude towards life should be how not to waste it, how not to lose what you have” because reputation and integrity are the most valuable assets, And both can be lost in a heartbeat.

Tilson said, “In the investing world, it’s the same thing in your personal world, your main goal should be to avoid those disastrous mistakes that can destroy an investment record, that can destroy a life.”

Manger famously expressed that advice humorously by saying, “I just want to know where I’m going to die so (that) I never go there.”

Mungar was known as an avid reader and student of human behaviour. They employed various models borrowed from disciplines such as psychology, physics, and mathematics to evaluate potential investments.

Munger studied mathematics at the University of Michigan in the 1940s, but left college to serve as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

He then earned a law degree from Harvard University in 1948, even though he did not complete his undergraduate degree. He co-founded a law firm in Los Angeles, which still bears his name, but soon decided he would prefer investing.

Munger at one time amassed a fortune of over $2 billion and earned a spot on the list of the richest Americans. As time passed, Munger’s wealth declined. gave away more of his fortuneBut the steadily rising value of Berkshire’s stock kept him wealthy.

Munger has made significant gifts to Harvard-Westlake, Stanford University Law School, the University of Michigan, and the Huntington Library, as well as other charities. After his wife’s death in 2010, he bequeathed a large portion of his Berkshire stock to his eight children.

Munger also served on the boards of Good Samaritan Hospital and the private Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. And Munger served on the board of Costco Wholesale Corp. and for years as chairman of Daily Journal Corp.


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