Warren Buffett Sure Has a Way With Words

The best Buffettism of the week.

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Corrected on 09/26/2008: An earlier version of this blog post should have said that the investment in Goldman Sachs was $5 billion.

I've been so entertained by Warren Buffett's quotes in the news this week. The Wall Street Journal reports:

On Tuesday, Mr. Buffett says, he was sitting with his feet on his desk in Omaha, drinking a Cherry Coke and munching on mixed nuts, when he got an unusually candid call from a Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. investment banker. Tell us what kind of investment you'd consider making in Goldman, the banker urged him, and the firm would try to hammer out a deal.

You know the rest: Within hours, Berkshire announced its plan to invest $5 billion in Goldman Sachs stock.

The best quote of this story comes when Buffett describes a March 15 phone call he received from a private investment firm trying to cobble together a group to buy Bear Stearns:

"I'm calling about Bear Stearns," the private investor began, according to Mr. Buffett. "Should I go on?'" Mr. Buffett recalls thinking: "It's like a woman taking off half her clothes and asking, 'Should I continue?' Even if you're a 90-year-old eunuch, you let 'em finish."

Of course, Buffett passed on that deal.

If you missed it, Bloomberg reported in June that when asked what makes people want to sell their companies to him, Buffett told a crowd of executives that he suggests prospective sellers think of a company as a piece of art:

"You can sell it to Berkshire, and we'll put it in the Metropolitan Museum; it'll have a wing all by itself; it'll be there forever, he says at the February meeting. "Or you can sell it to some porn shop operator, and he'll take the painting and he'll make the boobs a little bigger and he'll stick it up in the window, and some other guy will come along in a raincoat, and he'll buy it."

If that puts you in the mood for more Buffett, check out my post from yesterday, which includes details from his much-anticipated biography. It's due out Monday.

Buffett, Warren

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