Berkshire Hathaway chairperson Warren Buffett is about to drop decades long resistance to any recording of his super-popular AGM after losing patience with the darker side of the event.
With 40 000 people descending onto Omaha, the first week of May has become a profit-gouging fest for some local businesses. Not content with tripling their prices, hoteliers enforce a minimum three night stay, while airline tickets into Omaha are priced at huge premiums for the weekend.
Buffett has advised shareholders to swap from hotels to Airbnb and to fly, rather, to Kansas City (at normal prices) and drive the two and a half hours to Omaha. But that hasn’t stopped the profiteering. So he is mulling the ultimate response by planning this year’s AGM to be webcast live – a suggestion reported in both the Wall Street Journal and the FT last week.
Shareholders will still need to get to Omaha for a live sighting of their hero. But for many Buffett fans, its essence is five and a half hours of Buffett and Munger answering questions from shareholders.
Many are sure to follow their parsimonious chairperson’s urgings, stay home and watch him live on their computers. They’re sure to be joined by millions more for whom the cost of travelling to Omaha is beyond reach – even at normal Midwest pricing.