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2020: Why didn't Berkshire repurchase shares in March when the price fell 30%?
BECKY QUICK: All right. So, this question — I was looking for one of these, because I got several questions that came in similar to this — I was looking for one of these a moment ago. This one’s from Andrew Wenke.
He says, “Can you ask Warren why he didn’t purchase — repurchase — Berkshire shares in March when they dropped to a price that was 30 percent lower than the price that he had repurchased shares for in January and February?”
WARREN BUFFETT: Yeah. It was very, very, very short period where they were 30 percent less, but —
We — I don’t think Berkshire shares, relative to present value, are at a significantly different discount than they were when we were paying somewhat higher prices.
You know, it’s like (economist John Maynard) Keynes said, or whoever it was, “If the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
So — it’s — we always think about it. But I don’t feel that it’s more — far more compelling to buy Berkshire shares now than I would have felt three months, or six months, or nine months ago.
It’s always — it’s always a possibility. And we’ll see what happens.
Greg, you’ve — you think about repurchasing shares. (Laughs)
GREG ABEL: No, I — I think our approach, Warren, is the right approach. I mean, you’re always — I can’t really add anything other than the approach is the right approach.
We approach it when we see it’s the right thing for our shareholders to be repurchasing. And that doesn’t mean we’re repurchasing all the time, or the view doesn’t change.
WARREN BUFFETT: There could be a price, relative to value at the time, not relative to what it was worth a year ago, I mean.
The value of certain things have decreased. Our airline position was a mistake. Berkshire is worth less today because I took that position than if I hadn’t.
And there are other decisions like that. And they’re not, you know — it is not more compelling to buy the shares now than it was when we were buying them. It’s not less compelling. I mean, it’s a wash. But we didn’t do any — we —
It’s not gotten — the price has not gotten to a level — or not been at a level — where it really feels way better to us than other things, including the option value of money, to step up in a big, big way.