DUESSELDORF / FRANKFURT. On Friday the 28th March 2008, will ring for Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska, on the phone. The call comes from New York, on the other end Richard Fuld, the boss is Lehman Brothers. His concern: whether Buffett would not join with four billion dollars in his bank?
Buffett, Fuld says to consider the offer. He knows that investment banks like Lehmann has hit the financial crisis fully, profits and share prices are plunging. To enter the perfect time for someone who has money. And Warren Buffett has billions.
In the evening, he leans into his office in Omaha on the annual report of Lehman. Buffett noted on the envelope that side of figures on which he found disturbing. When he finishes, he has scribbled the entire cover.
Buffett calls to and from him, Fuld said. Is half a year later Lehman Brothers to fail.
"We did not always the smartest things," Buffett recently told the Wall Street Journal made "on its investments during the financial crisis, but" we have nothing really stupid. " Quite the contrary.
The financial crisis has made the legendary man from Omaha powerful than ever before. The 79-year-old not only moves the markets around the world when he dropping half a sentence. He has also become the most sought-after investor in the world. Because hardly anyone has as much cash as Buffett and because hardly anyone, the company has invested in it, evokes such a long leash, and so long as Buffett believes, can the 40-times millionaire before offers little to save.
Just Buffett has his investment in the reinsurer Munich Re increased significantly. And when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this week, finally gets his new contract, he owes this to the man from Omaha: He’s doubtful this week implores senators by phone, but please vote for Bernanke to.
The financial data provider Bloomberg has the end of last year 1500 prompted Wall Street dealers, who are versed in the financial markets best. One in four called Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha. No other stock market guru fared better. Not George Soros, the currency speculator, not Bill Gross, the king of the bonds.
So much fame, so much foresight. Only a decision about Warren Buffett is expressed again and again: Who will succeed him? None of its shareholders know it. On 30 August, Buffett, 80 years old.
The thrill of buying and selling irritates Buffett early. Chewing gum, peanuts, used golf balls: Whatever the little "Warreny" get his hands, he makes money. For cents amounts will soon be more profitable, and at 15 he owns a farm and shares in a hardware store. Early on, he shapes his principle of investing only in companies whose market value is less than their assets.
Deal for Buffett deal is a giant market. At its peak, its holding is Berkshire Hathaway value on the stock market over 200 billion U.S. dollars. The value of one share of preferred stock that stood at $ 113,000. Buffett has not added nearly one fourth of Berkshire.
In his contribution empire with nearly 80 companies, there is almost nothing that does not exist: chocolate and cola, mattresses and prefabricated houses, banks and insurance companies, coal-fired power plants and lithium batteries, tools and credit cards, railroad cars and railroad lines. Also, the rating agency Moody’s added some Buffett.
But it has shaken the financial crisis. 2008 was the worst year in four decades of history. Berkshire Hathaway even lost its AAA rating. Buffett wrote in 2009, although returns to profit, but the Berkshire stagnant share. His personal fortune was melting, according to the U.S. magazine "Forbes" from 50 to 40 billion U.S. dollars. Something hurts.
His wealth – and its shareholders – also suffered because the old man from Omaha’s iron principles are not always so faithful remained, as he pretends to like. Trade in derivatives has Buffett once compared with headline-grabbing mass destruction.
Mid-2009 he had to concede that he had speculated with similar derivatives. Has been known that when he sold the 2008 put options on S & P 500 index with a value of 37.1 billion U.S. dollars.
But as a small sin against one’s principles scratching his heroic image of a Warren Buffett, of course not. Mainly because he was in a crisis that was lacking to others: Cash. Buffett, 45 billion U.S. dollars cash stuffed in his money bin, as share prices fell and died banks. He knew: If the markets on the ground, there is the best buying opportunities.
And Buffett got more bids than ever before. The secret of his success: The most he has rejected.
Again and again rang the bell in the last two years of crisis, the phone in Omaha. The head of Wachovia bank needed help. The investor J. Christopher Flowers and Buffett wanted to buy the investment bank Bear Stearns. Morgan Stanley invited to acquire the real estate financier Freddie Mac.
On 12 September 2008 – three days later is Lehman Brothers to fail – calling on Robert Willumstadt, head of insurance giant AIG. Whether Buffett would not join with five billion dollars? "Are not you wasting your time with me, dear," says Buffett. Shortly thereafter Willumstadt calls again: "How about the whole thing?" The entire group, only 25 billion dollars? "No thanks," says Buffett.
Shortly afterwards, the U.S. government rescue AIG with 85 billion U.S. dollars before the collapse.
But three times Warren Buffett says: Yes, Goldman Sachs, in General Electric – And the railway company Burlington Northern Santa Fe. The deals not only show his good nose. They also show his power and how he uses it. At Goldman Sachs, and GE The main reason he went with several billion more dollars, because he asserted his shares for a guaranteed dividend of ten per cent. Such conditions just get just a dream buffet.
His deal he usually translates quietly. And fast. In Burlington, he needs only 15 minutes to explain Bahn CEO Matthew Rose’s 26 billion U.S. dollars takeover serious plan. At a buffet Preiszockereien can not usually a way: He was offering a fair price, would accept the either – or he looked around for other investments, he said recently.
But even a Warren Buffett does not always get his way. As the U.S. food giant Kraft recently the acquisition of the British chocolate company Cadbury announced, was a billionaire from Nebraska – Berkshire holds ten percent of vigor piqued -. "It is a bad business," grumbled Buffett. "I feel poorer."
Reicher him against his will make an increased contribution to Munich Re. His commitment follows his principles: He understands the business, and he has the highest respect for the management.
Warren Buffett knows the insurance industry in almost any second. Nearly a dozen insurance companies he owns in whole or in part. As is his personal passion, on the insurance holding company in its take on risks that no other features in the industry. Buffett’s league play in the world in only a handful of reinsurance companies.
These include the two market leaders Munich Re and Swiss Re. Both Buffett also knows so much better than others, because large deals are usually offered to all insurers. Buffett rejects from a business fit for him the price and risk not together. Follow it to its competitors, Buffett knows what managers think the competition as he himself
Buffett always looks for "large, well-run business, we understand right away," he says. Condition is that they have grown over decades. Three or four years old company for him to come out of the question.
Even many Wall Street dealers hold Buffett is a genius
That Munich Re now fits into this scheme of plunder, have worked hard since the Munich crisis between 2000 and 2002. Systematically CEO Nikolaus von Bomhard has revamped risk management. What counts is not permanent, he no longer stands. Munich Re therefore sits – like Buffett – even once a while on their equity without having to make new deals.
By Bomhard Buffett style has impressed. In 2008 he bought a half a percent Munich Re. Such participation, he has since gradually increased to more than three percent, which is currently worth around 660 million euros.
With its – apparently – so simple principles, and his career from chewing gum seller a billionaire Buffett enthusiastically by investors, private as well as professionals.
On the scrap heap, because the experts are in agreement, he is not one for a long time. "Buffett is one of the most brilliant investors in general. I always notice more how much wisdom lies in its simple sentences," said Hendrik Leber, a fund manager at Acatis Investment in Frankfurt. "Some think he is an old grandpa, which only makes a nice show. But who has ever experienced it yourself, forgetting all the prejudices very quickly." If he invests money, swears to the liver Buffett’sche strategy.
Max Otte, author and professor at the University of Applied Sciences Worms, Buffett calls a "genius". That the Berkshire shares will continue to yield only a slightly above-average return is quite normal: "Finally, Buffett to invest huge sums of money. It is subject to very different constraints than smaller investors. If you like, he has a straight jacket on."
Who wants to see the man with perhaps the most comfortable straitjacket of the world once, needs to go on a pilgrimage to Omaha in early May. As in Nebraska, Buffett receives its shareholders to its AGM. In the past year were 35000 at Buffett’s "Woodstock for capitalists," as he calls it himself. It’s like a huge fair. Companies from the Buffett empire offer their wares, work gloves, furniture, campers and ice cream.
The most important decision in his kingdom, however, differs from Warren Buffett for years. Who will Berkshire Hathaway after him? As fast as he makes his billions elsewhere deals, so little, he may express an opinion. So merrily the markets speculate drauflos. Time lies ahead Ajit Jain, head of the reinsurance division of Berkshire Hathaway. Another time it is David Sokol, who heads the Berkshire subsidiary Netjets. And then again, Tony Nicely, chief of the insurer Geico.
What does he think so from the performance of its top executives, Buffett was asked last May. "They have not covered themselves with glory," proclaimed the god of money investors with a wink of the faithful community.
"But I do not, so I tolerate."
Warren Buffett on the 30th August 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, was born. At age eleven, he bought his first shares and speculation on the exchange. The necessary tools brings him his father, a dealer in securities, at.
Buffett makes the Master in Economics at Columbia Business School in Benjamin Graham, considered the founder of value investing. Graham gave his pupil the wisdom along the way: Invest only in companies that cost less than they’re worth.
With 25 years based in Omaha, Buffett’s first investment company, Buffett Partnership. Business is good, Buffett continues to attract more and more and above all more and more customers. In 1969 he sold the bull market all securities and dissolved the company.
From 1962 to 1965 Buffett buys piece by piece to the ailing textile firm Berkshire Hathaway. In 1970, he takes the lead and built the organization to ensure an investment holding company. Today Berkshire Hathaway as to CocaCola, Goldman Sachs, American ExpressFruit of the Loom and General Electric (Photo above) involved. In Germany, the holding company for the Cologne Reinsurance and the tool specialists Kromi is committed. Reported in November 2009 Berkshire Hathaway the acquisition of the U.S. rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe for 26 billion U.S. dollars (photo below). Earlier this week, boosting its holding their participation in the world’s largest reinsurer Munich Re on over three percent. Buffett has strong expertise in the industry: He is also Swiss Re involved, the global number two. General Re, the number three, is in its possession. Was modified Berkshire Hathaway 158 billion U.S. dollars worth.
In mid-2006 agreed with the Buffett Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates, that he gradually most of its shares to Berkshire Hathaway will override.