The meeting, which generally draws thousands to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, will still be held, but attendance will be limited to Buffett, possibly his business partner
“I very much regret this action,” Buffett said in the statement. “For many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger.”
Berkshire’s annual meeting floods the city with shareholders and employees, many of whom spend hours on a Saturday listening to Buffett and Munger speak. The company had
“It is now clear, however, that large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community,” Buffett said. “We won’t ask this of our employees and we won’t expose Omaha to the possibility of becoming a ‘hot spot’ in the current pandemic.”
Buffett encouraged investors to send questions to select journalists, who then will ask Buffett and Munger about the topics -- though he said he’s deferring a decision on whether one or more of those journalists will be present at the meeting.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Buffett’s annual gathering could bring another change: The billionaire investor had been
Over his more than five decades running Berkshire, Buffett has amassed a following of shareholders who return often to Omaha for the event he’s
“It’s their annual convention where they get to see each other, taste the products, celebrate the company,” said investor
The affair spans the entire weekend, with events held at Borsheims, a jeweler owned by Berkshire, and dinners for shareholders at one of Buffett’s favorite steakhouses, Gorat’s. Buffett himself has been known to show up for games of bridge during the weekend. And his many different businesses, such as Geico, set up booths to sell products.
Impact on Omaha
The event is also a boon for Omaha’s economy, with investors filling up hotels around the city. Berkshire’s meeting has become so popular that Buffett has even warned investors that airline tickets to Omaha often
The coronavirus, which has
“It’s almost obvious they should not have the shareholders there,” Cunningham said.
Yahoo has been streaming the annual meeting since 2016 for those who can’t attend the event -- which, this year, will include almost every shareholder.
(Updates with details of gathering, shareholder’s comments starting in sixth paragraph.)
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