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Buffett plans in-person Berkshire annual meeting as Omicron wave crests

Stock MarketsJan 25, 2022 11:08
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (left) and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger are seen at the annual Berkshire shareholder shopping day in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) Inc plans this year to let shareholders attend the company's annual meeting for the first time in three years, amid signs the Omicron wave may have peaked in the United States.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate said "we are planning for an in-person meeting" on April 30, while also webcasting the event for a seventh straight year.

The plan was announced even as many large corporate gatherings remain online or are delayed as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads around the world.

But new coronavirus cases are dropping within the United States, and the top U.S. infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Monday he believed "in the next few weeks we will see, as a country, that it is all turning around."

Berkshire's annual shareholder weekend, whose centerpiece is the meeting, normally draws about 40,000 shareholders to Omaha for shopping, dining, a 5-kilometer run and other events. Buffett calls it "Woodstock for Capitalists."

The meeting normally features Buffett, 91, and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 98, answering several hours of shareholder questions.

Berkshire's 2020 meeting featured Buffett and Berkshire Vice Chairman Greg Abel answering questions in Omaha, while the 2021 meeting moved to Los Angeles so Munger, who lives in the area, could join Buffett on stage. Shareholders stayed home from both.

"I really hope, and I think the odds are very, very good, that we get to hold this next year in Omaha and I hope that we get a record turnout," Buffett said at the 2021 meeting.

Berkshire said it will release more details on the meeting with its annual shareholder report on Feb. 26.

Buffett has run Berkshire since 1965. Berkshire owns several dozen businesses including Geico car insurance and the BNSF railroad, and stocks including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).

Buffett plans in-person Berkshire annual meeting as Omicron wave crests

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