Date
23 July 2017
Warren Buffet is bringing his folksy annual shareholder meeting to a global audience. Viewers will see him in action, perhaps more than slurping a popsicle. Photo: Reuters
Warren Buffet is bringing his folksy annual shareholder meeting to a global audience. Viewers will see him in action, perhaps more than slurping a popsicle. Photo: Reuters

Buffett takes ‘old economy’ flagship to digital age

Warren Buffett is taking his highly anticipated annual shareholder meeting to the digital age, allowing a global audience to see him in action in the world’s biggest gathering of its kind.

Reuters is reporting that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will webcast the meeting through Yahoo Inc.’s finance page.

On April 30, viewers will see Buffett, Berkshire’s 85-year-old chief executive, and vice chairman Charlie Munger, 92, field five hours of questions from shareholders, reporters and analysts about investing, the economy and life.

And, of course, Buffett and his old-economy flagship. 

The webcast offers a chance “to reach more people than ever, in key financial centers” and “to bring the energy and excitement of what happens in Omaha to an informed audience around the world,” Buffett, known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” said in a statement on Tuesday.

The webcast may help Yahoo attract advertisers enticed by millions of potential online viewers.

Yahoo’s core internet business has struggled and chief executive Marissa Mayer has signaled she might put the business up for sale.

Andy Serwer, Yahoo Finance’s editor in chief, told CNBC that Yahoo could sell ads for the live stream and said Buffett had called him in December to ask if a webcast was possible.

“He said, ‘I just want to make it bigger,’” Serwer said. “There’s a lot of demand, particularly in places like China.”

Yahoo shares closed up US$2.24, or 8.3 percent, at US$29.28.

Berkshire owns nearly 90 businesses, among which are BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen ice cream, Fruit of the Loom underwear, Geico car insurance and See’s candies.

Most are in the United States and the webcast could help Buffett market Berkshire to sellers of businesses elsewhere.

Last year’s annual meeting drew roughly 40,000 people to Omaha to celebrate Buffett’s 50th anniversary at the helm.

Attendance began to swell after Berkshire created lower-priced “B” shares in 1996, which increased the number of investors in the company.

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CG/RA

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