Holding a Tune Not Necessary

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-05-01 Email Print this article Print

The "Woodstock for Capitalists" is about to grab the economic spotlight as the annual shareholder meeting for Berkshire Hathaway is almost here.


Official festivities begin Friday evening, after Berkshire releases first-quarter results.

Cocktails, food and very long lines will await shareholders visiting Borsheim's, a Berkshire-owned jeweler west of downtown that will hawk memorabilia such as a Berkshire Monopoly game, towels, and license-plate frames.

The festivities end at Buffett favorite Gorat's, which last year served 915 dinners on "Shareholder Sunday." Shareholders, meanwhile, will host their own events throughout the weekend.

Many attendees live in Omaha, and most are ordinary investors. Attendance is up sixfold since Berkshire in 1996 created Class B shares worth 1/30th of Class A shares.

Yet some have greater reknown. Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corp chairman and Buffett bridge partner, is a Berkshire director and has attended past meetings.

And Betz recalls dining with the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks at the 1999 meeting.

But it's the meeting itself that's the centerpiece.

Last year, as Buffett milled about a Qwest Center hall featuring goods from Berkshire companies, he snacked on a Dairy Queen vanilla orange bar, flopped on a bed from Nebraska Furniture Mart, and strummed a ukulele while singing -- sort of on key.

Later, Jimmy Buffett (no relation) regaled shareholders with a parody of his best-known song, "Margaritaville." The title: "Berkshire Hathaway-a-Ville."

He forgot some lyrics. Wasn't exactly on key, either.

(Editing by Brian Moss)



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