Lessons from Warren Buffett - IV - Views on News from Equitymaster

Helping You Build Wealth With Honest Research
Since 1996. Try Now

  • MyStocks

MEMBER'S LOGINX

     
Login Failure
   
     
   
     
 
 
 
(Please do not use this option on a public machine)
 
     
 
 
 
  Sign Up | Forgot Password?  

Lessons from Warren Buffett - IV

Jul 12, 2007

Last week, we touched upon the key points in Warren Buffett's 1979 letter to his shareholders. This week, let us see what the master has to offer in his 1980 letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway: "The value to Berkshire Hathaway of retained earnings is not determined by whether we own 100%, 50%, 20% or 1% of the businesses in which they reside. Rather, the value of those retained earnings is determined by the use to which they are put and the subsequent level of earnings produced by that usage."

The maestro made the above statements because in those days he felt that the prevailing accounting convention/standards were not in sync with a value based investment approach (Infact, they still aren't). In the paragraphs preceding the one mentioned above, he painstakingly explains that while accounting convention requires that a partial ownership (ownership of say 20%) in a business be reflected on the owner's books by way of dividend payments, in reality, they are worth much more to the owner and their true value is determined by the 20% of the intrinsic value of the company and not by 20% of the dividends that are reflected on its books. In the Indian context, imagine someone valuing a company like say M&M -if it had say a 20% stake in Tech Mahindra- based on the 20% of dividends that the latter pays out to M&M. This will be a rather incorrect way of valuing M&M, which in effect should be valued taking into account 20% of the intrinsic value of Tech Mahindra and not the dividends.

"The competitive nature of corporate acquisition activity almost guarantees the payment of a full - frequently more than full price when a company buys the entire ownership of another enterprise. But the auction nature of security markets often allows finely run companies the opportunity to purchase portions of their own businesses at a price under 50% of that needed to acquire the same earning power through the negotiated acquisition of another enterprise."

Buffett, as most of us might know, is a strong advocate of buyback, especially at a time when the stock is trading significantly lower than its intrinsic value and the above paragraph is just a testimony to this principle of his. Indeed, when stock prices are low, what better way to utilize capital than to enhance ownership in the company by way of buy back. The master further goes on to add that one can buy a portion of a business at a much lower price, provided there is auction happening. In other words, when there is a panic in the market and everyone is offloading shares, the chances of getting an attractive price is much higher. On the other hand, when there is a competition between two or more companies for buying another enterprise, the competitive forces will more likely than not keep the acquisition price higher, in most cases, higher than even the intrinsic value of the company.

Lessons from Warren Buffett Series - Previous article | Next article | All Articles


Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Lessons from Warren Buffett - IV". Click here!

  

More Views on News

Investors Are Undeterred To Market Volatility To Continue Investing In Equity Funds (Outside View)

Sep 13, 2019

PersonalFN shares its views based on the AMFI Aug data.

'Consumption Funds' - Has India Lost Its Appetite For Consumption? (Outside View)

Sep 13, 2019

PersonalFN explains whether you should consider consumption funds for investment.

The 5 Best Trading Opportunities I've Spotted (Profit Hunter)

Sep 13, 2019

These 10 auto stocks should be in your watchlist for the next 32 months. Paste them on your workstation NOW.

Why Promoters Are Not Panic Selling (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Sep 13, 2019

While market participants have resorted to selling their shares, company promoters have stayed put.

How To Select Worthy ELSS For Tax Saving This Year (Outside View)

Sep 12, 2019

PersonalFN explains who should consider ELSS for tax saving.

More Views on News

Most Popular

Buying these Eight Stocks is Like Owning Your Own Business (Profit Hunter)

Sep 5, 2019

Everyone dreams of owning a business. Here is your chance.

7 Stocks to Buy in the Market Today (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Sep 5, 2019

The stock market had a four-year bull run starting September 2013. Are we seeing a similar pattern now?

Don't Buy Lakshmi Vilas Bank...Buy this Private Sector Bank with 74% Upside (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Sep 4, 2019

Lakshmi Vilas Bank is in a vicious cycle. The stock is already down 57% in 2019. Despite this, the retail investors increased their holding.

Insider Buying Alert: Promoters Increase Stake in 8 High-Quality Smallcaps (Profit Hunter)

Sep 3, 2019

Insiders have increased their stakes in eight Hidden Treasure recommendations. Should you follow them?

Buy these 7 Stocks if You Believe in India (The 5 Minute Wrapup)

Sep 12, 2019

News headlines predict gloom and doom for India these days. You should ignore them.

More

Get the Indian Stock Market's
Most Profitable Ideas

How To Beat Sensex Guide 2019
Get our special report, How to Beat Sensex Nearly 3X Now!
We will never sell or rent your email id.
Please read our Terms

S&P BSE SENSEX


Sep 13, 2019 (Close)

MARKET STATS