Berkshire Hathaway 2013 Annual Meeting Audience Question # 7

The key to disclosure is accuracy and simultaneity

Warren Buffett:

OK. Andrew?

Andrew Ross Sorkin:

OK. Warren, we got a couple questions related to this.

Warren, now that you’re on Twitter and the SEC is allowing companies to make material announcements over social media, what are the implications for Business Wire, a unit of Berkshire?

Do you agree with the SEC’s new position on the distribution of material information, and would you consider selling Business Wire given the new rules?

If not, how do you think Business Wire will have to transform itself? And, by the way, what are you doing on Twitter?

Warren Buffett:

I haven’t figured that last one out yet.

The… no, I think it is a mistake. Some companies have announced… made important announcements… on webpages, and some, in certain cases, they’ve messed it up and caused a fair amount of trouble.

But the key to disclosure is accuracy and simultaneity. I mean, if we own stocks, or are thinking about owning stocks, we want to be very sure that we get accurate information and we get it exactly at the same time as all other people.

And Business Wire does a magnificent job of that.

And I do not want, if I’m buying Wells Fargo, or selling it, or whatever it may be, I do not want to have to keep hitting up to their webpage, or something, and hoping that I’m not 10 seconds behind someone else if there’s some important announcement.

So, Business Wire has got a traffic record of accuracy and of getting the information to every part of the globe in a simultaneous manner, and that is the key to disclosure.

And I think… I don’t think that… I don’t think anything has come close to doing that as well as Business Wire.

So I think we will do very well. We’ve got a sensational manager in Cathy Baron Tamraz.

I couldn’t be happier with the business, so we will not be selling it. And if I could clone Cathy, I would do it.

I will not… Berkshire, when it puts out its information… and we like to put it out, actually, after the market closes because we think there’s so much to digest that it’s a terrible mistake to have people try and figure it all out in reading a one- or two-page announcement.

But anything important from Berkshire, or any of our companies, is going to come out on Business Wire so that people get accurate information at exactly at the same time.


Charlie Munger:

Well, it’s very hard for me to know anything about Twitter when I’m avoiding it like the plague.

Warren Buffett:

He sent me out to venture in it, and he’s going to see if anything bad happens to me.

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