Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Playboy Party Warren Buffet & Inside trading

Finally it seems that the last fling of winter is over … The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it. It is warm now to the touch, it has come alive, it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell and the objective to make One Million Euros seems closer than ever, being one year wiser and with the magic number on my side, helps me to reinvigorate the spirit, a flow of celebrations... and the sun has come to stay.

During my birthday I was invited to the Official Playboy Party in Helsinki Finland. For the 2nd annual time The Tiger nightclub hosts a party for the one and only in the adult magazine industry. It was a night to remember filled with the classic Playboy flavour, excellent music and all the right people.

Rock 'n' roll star, king, czar, and a kaiser / A room full of friends / A mouth full of cake ...

On the Investing arena Warren Buffett should be directly responding to the unprecedented criticism he is facing over the behaviour of his one-time heir apparent, but experts fear he is being hampered by a lack of corporate management or board depth.

Buffett has maintained his planned silence following the March 30 letter in which he disclosed David Sokol’s resignation and now-questioned investment in Lubrizol Corp. In the meantime, though, he has been slammed with the kind of rebukes and questioning from the media and investors that he just isn’t used to.

Even journalists with whom he has engaged often, like Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, have taken Buffett to task.

Sorkin — one of three reporters designated to ask Buffett questions at Berkshire’s annual meeting — has written two columns in the past week questioning his handling of the whole episode, which netted Sokol about $3 million in profits.

Image experts say Buffett cannot wait until that April 30-May 1 annual weekend gathering to address an issue that threatens to overshadow an event he calls the “Woodstock for Capitalism,” usually a multi-day celebration of all things Berkshire for an adoring crowd of 40,000 or more shareholders.

“If I were counseling Buffett I would recommend a very frank and complete discussion soon — 25 days is too long to wait,” said Lew Phelps, head, energy practice, Sitrick & Co, a top crisis communications firm. “There’s obviously a lot of concern in the marketplace about what this means. This is a situation where silence is not golden.”

The situation was compounded when Sokol went on the CNBC cable channel on March 31 and defended himself, noting that he was not the only Berkshire executive to recommend investing in a company after buying stock in it. Berkshire vice-chairman Charlie Munger did the same, he said, with Chinese car maker BYD.

Sokol was called out in a filing by Lubrizol late Monday. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said Sokol knew Lubrizol intended to discuss a deal with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. That’s months before Sokol bought a $10 million stake in Lubrizol. He ended up reaping a $3 million profit under the terms of the $9 billion cash deal. See SEC filing for more details.

Until now, Buffett has stood by Sokol’s story that the investment didn’t break the law. Many legal analysts have agreed, though many said Sokol’s trading was a borderline transaction. Roger Altman, who advised Lubrizol, conceded that “it wasn’t Mr. Sokol’s finest hour.”

Legal analysts will now have to decide if Sokol used “nonpublic, material information” as the law defines it, to make an inside trade.

There is, of course, no evidence Buffett knew how Sokol acquired the information or that Sokol told him about the meeting with Citigroup Inc bankers where Lubrizol says he learned of the talks.

But even if Buffett didn’t know, it doesn’t reflect well on him. Sokol’s meeting with Citigroup bankers about potential deals — and he didn’t report back to Buffett? At the very least, Buffett has shown an error in judgment when it comes to picking a successor.

Not as bad, perhaps, as trading ahead of a deal. But if there’s one thing Buffett seemed to have a grasp on, it’s knowing all of the ins and outs of every deal, especially those he built. So lets remember that Every dog has its day...keep writing me, keep connecting, keep Investing keep in touch and keep winning!!!


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  2. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. Warren Buffet is great business man of USA.

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