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Watsa and Buffet


bargainman
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I'm curious, I remember reading things here and there about Buffet and Watsa.  Watsa attending all the BRK meetings back before they were popular, and Buffet mentioning FFH at the annual meeting one year.  But I was looking for 'documentation' of sorts.  Does anyone have any links that document Watsa and Buffet's interactions at all?  Surely Buffet knows who Watsa is, but has he ever publicly mentioned him?  Just curious..

 

Thanks.

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I can tell you for a fact that Prem and Ajit Jain know each other very well.  I would assume with all the daily conversations Ajit and Buffett have had over the last 15 years (Ajit is the last person Buffett speaks to every night), Prem and Fairfax probably came up at least a handful of times...I would bet significantly greater than a handful of times!  Buffett is not only aware of Fairfax, but he most certainly knows who one of his greatest disciples is.  Cheers!

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Last years being 2008

..not the 09 AGM where Warren stopped momentarily to say something to Prem as he was heading toward the stage.  Warren Buffett also indirectly referred to Fairfax in the last annual letter when he said that "sophisticated" investors had purchased the Berkshire Munis.  

 

 

 

Fairfax was the most profitable insurance company in the world in 2008 so you can be sure Warren has been paying attention.  It used to be that Fairfax was too small for a direct investment from Berkshire but you have to wonder why he hasn't made an investment.

 

I can't quite remember who talked about the USG deal  but it was probably Prem at the Fairfax AGM earlier this year.   

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When Buffett referenced Fairfax, he did say something to the effect of Fairfax being a "small" insurance company. I guess if you are Berkshire's size, pretty much EVERYONE is small!

 

Seriously, Buffett watches the insurance industry as closely as he watches any industry, and one cannot watch insurance and NOT know about Fairfax. And they did both participate in the USG deal...

 

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2008/nov/21/business/chi-biz-usg-warren-buffett-nov21

 

-Crip

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I believe it was the '04 meeting, as I was there.  I met Ajit and started to ask him about Fairfax.  We talked for a few minutes about Fairfax and then I brought up the subject of both Prem and Ajit attending IIT.  He told me that Prem went to one IIT campus and he had gone to another one, but they got to know each other through the insurance industry over the years.  Then some Wall Street suit type interrupted and said "Isn't Fairfax in trouble?"  Ajit snapped at him "Is he IN TROUBLE, or GETTING OUT of trouble?"  The guy shut up. 

 

I met Ajit again in 2005 and we spoke for about ten minutes outside of the Omaha Marriott near Borsheim's.  At the end of it he was kind enough to ask for my card which I appreciated.  I met him briefly again after the 2006 Press Conference with Buffett & Munger as well.  Each time he was very nice to me.  Cheers! 

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Exactly... Buffett and Munger do their homework on competitors.  I recall Munger, from a Wesco meeting, mentioning Cott Corporation (small carbonated soda maker in Canada) when making rhetorical points about Coca Cola's business model and potential threats to their model.  If Munger knows about Cott, surely Buffett knows about Fairfax.

 

-O

When Buffett referenced Fairfax, he did say something to the effect of Fairfax being a "small" insurance company. I guess if you are Berkshire's size, pretty much EVERYONE is small!

 

Seriously, Buffett watches the insurance industry as closely as he watches any industry, and one cannot watch insurance and NOT know about Fairfax. And they did both participate in the USG deal...

 

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2008/nov/21/business/chi-biz-usg-warren-buffett-nov21

 

-Crip

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We used to have a position in USG and got to know their

mgt very well.  They are highly ethical and admirable,

but would be the first to admit that they let the corporate

imperative to expand get the better of them when they

issued unnecessary debt less than half a year after WEB

helped get them out of Cpt 11 with their stock in shareholders'

hands.  When they announced their expansion plans in

early 07, WEB stopped supporting their stock as he had done at

about $45 per share after their rights offering had expired.

(By the way everything in this post is based on public

information)  WEB has a history of protecting and

rescuing his investments.  His second rescue of USG

was prompted by their violating the covenants on their

debt last fall. FFH's participation was necessary because

BRK doesn't want to get close to a change of control

situation that could jepordize USG's NOL's.  USG obviously

knew that they needed a partner that was on a very

short list that was acceptable.  That FFH was the one

is powerful evidence that WEB and Charlie hold them

in high esteem. :)

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Sanj,....

 

as a matter of fact,... Prem was at the 2009 BRK AGM.  ;)

 

Cheers!

 

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_gxkDvCm8FUA/SiU6AVyUNnI/AAAAAAAAGtI/3BRQO0h3Veg/s128/IMG_4785.JPG

David Lau & Prem Watsa @ 2009 BRK AGM

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/dahhuilaudavid/Berkshire2009AGM

http://picasaweb.google.com/dahhuilaudavid/Berkshire2009AGM#5342740310467556978

 

 

 

 

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