Tags: buffett | warren | deals. berkshire | hathaway | crisis

Buffett: My Best Deals Are Ones I Didn't Make

By Dan Weil   |   Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 08:49 AM

Investment icon Warren Buffett says his firm Berkshire Hathaway may not have made out like a bandit during the financial crisis, but it did OK.

"I bought my first stock in 1942, and this roller coaster surpassed anything that I've seen," he told The Wall Street Journal.

"We didn't do all the smartest things. We didn't do anything really dumb."

Buffett says his smartest decisions during the crisis may have been the deals he turned down. Those included opportunities to invest in Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie Mac and Wachovia.

All those firms failed or received government bailouts.

"I don't think Buffett gets enough credit for all the pitches he doesn't swing at," Paul Howard, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, told The Journal. "And he gets a lot of pitches."

The two main deals Buffett did make, investing $5 billion in Goldman Sachs and $3 billion in General Electric, were made on terms very favorable to Berkshire.

He does regret making all his investments before early March when the stock market bottomed. "I didn't maximize the opportunities offered by the chaos. But in the end, it worked out OK," Buffett said.

Many analysts are bullish about Berkshire’s latest deal – to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $34 billion.

"(Buffett is) buying at the trough; things aren't going to get much worse. He's getting in at a good time," Art Hatfield, an analyst at Morgan Keegan, told the Associated Press.

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Investment icon Warren Buffett says his firm Berkshire Hathaway may not have made out like a bandit during the financial crisis, but it did OK. I bought my first stock in 1942, and this roller coaster surpassed anything that I've seen, he told The Wall Street Journal....
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