NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Buffett and two other Wall Street notables -- Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Nicholas Taleb -- were drawing headlines this week.
First, there was a flurry of Buffett-related news.
appears to be the newest Berkshire Hathaway acquisition target. Late this week, the board at Berkshire approved a plan to acquire the remaining 19.9% stake in the California-based company not already controlled by Buffett's firm.
Similar to the deal which pocketed Buffett the remaining shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad in early 2010, it is likely that shares of
Berkshire Hathaway Class B Shares
will be used to help fund the cash and stock deal.
Buffett has had a long relationship with Wesco, which is run by his second-in-command Charlie Munger.
This week, investors and Warren Watchers learned that Lou Simpson, the president and chief executive of capital operations at Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) Geico branch, would be stepping down from his post at the end of the year. His retirement comes after more than 30 years with the auto insurer.
Though not as comfortable in the spotlight as other Berkshire notables such as Buffett and Charlie Munger, Simpson still managed to make his presence known in the form of his investing prowess. In an interview with the
, Buffett explains that as head of Gieco's investment portfolio, Simpson was the man behind many of the smaller investments (under $1 billion) making up
In the interview, Buffett uses Berkshire's stake in
as an example of a Simpson pick.
Interestingly, though at 73 Simpson is only slightly younger than Buffett, he had been previously been considered a possible successor to the Oracle of Omaha upon his departure from Berkshire.
In light of Simpson's exit, Buffett will take over control of Geico's investment portfolio.
Increasing demand for vehicles helped the popular battery-maker turned electric car producer, BYD, score over $100 million in profits in the second quarter of 2010. These numbers will likely please Warren Buffett who, through Berkshire Hathaway, owns a 10% stake in the company.
Although the firm's quarterly profit numbers were optimistic, another issue regarding BYD is making headlines this week which is not as positive. According to a
report, the Chinese government may be taking aim at the Buffett-backed car maker, which officials claim unlawfully built factories on over 100 acres of farmland.
As China's economy continues to expand at a breakneck speed, the amount of land used illegally has increased, reducing the amount of territory available to grow crops needed to feed the nation's population. China's government will decide by the end of September whether or not to make an example out of BYD and crack down on the firm.
Economic Doomsayers in the Spotlight
The recent round of dismal economic data has raised fears and concerns in the hearts of investors across the globe. With investors worried that an economic slowdown may be in the works, a band of prominent doomsayers are once again getting some time in the spotlight.
Nouriel Roubini, an economist which, in the financial world, has earned the nickname "Dr. Doom" due to his consistently bearish view on the state of the world economy, got some airtime this week. The New York University professor and chairman of Roubini Global Economics announced that there was
now a 40% chance of a double-dip recession
Looking towards the horizon, Roubini foresees less than 1% growth in the third quarter of 2010.
Fellow über-bear, Nassim Taleb was also back in the news this week after the
Wall Street Journal
reported China's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund,
China Investment Corp
was in investment talks with the market economic commentator's Universa Investments.
While nothing has been finalized, the report indicates that if CIC agrees to work with Universa, the firm's assets will increase to $10 billion from $6 billion.
Co-founded and advised by Taleb, Universa Investments seeks out effective ways to protect its clients from the threat of extreme events, or "black swans," which threaten to send the market into a tailspin
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.
Don Dion is president and founder of
, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.
Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.