9 Memorable Moments From Warren Buffett's Annual Meeting

OMAHA, Neb. (TheStreet) -- Warren Buffett certainly knows how to put on a show: He and long-time business partner Charlie Munger proved it yet again at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders' meeting over the weekend.

More than 40,000 people, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) shareholders and their guests, descended on Buffett's hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, this weekend to attend the event, which has earned a reputation for being an interesting time (just take a look at the quirky shopping selection up for grabs in the event hall).


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Couldn't attend? We've got you covered. Here are nine of the most memorable moments from Berkshire's 2015 gathering, from acquisition musings to family-life commentary and hints about the connection between soft drinks and longevity.


Munger Channels Taylor Swift on Value Investing

The Berkshire Hathaway team has long subscribed to the principles of value investing., a method in which individuals perform fundamental analysis to identify companies that are undervalued by the market. The strategy is one both Buffett and Munger have championed for years.

On Saturday, the two reaffirmed their belief in the approach -- and Munger channeled a bit of pop star Taylor Swift's hit Style in the process. "I don't think value investing will ever go out of style," he said, to which Buffett replied, "It never gets that popular, either."


Buffett Backs 3G

It's no secret that Buffett is quite a fan of 3G Capital and the Brazilian billionaire who runs it, Jorge Lemann. Berkshire and 3G have teamed up on numerous occasions, the most recent being a combined $10 billion investment to merge Kraft Foods (KRFT) and H.J. Heinz.

3G has a reputation for using aggressive cost-cutting measures to reap profits, including slashing jobs. Joao Valladares, a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder and founding partner at Rio de Janeiro-based private equity fund 4K Long Biased, traveled from Brazil to attend the annual meeting for the second consecutive year.

He said that 3G is known for its practice of "cutting the fat" in companies -- Brazilian and international alike -- to improve productivity.

On Saturday, Buffett took questions regarding 3G's approach to business and affirmed that Berkshire, too, works to ensure it has the right amount of workers employed. "We do not believe in having extra people around," he said. Munger agreed with Buffett's take, explaining that its businesses need to be "right-sized."

Buffett and Munger Prove They're Still a Nutritionist's Nightmare

Buffett isn't shy about his less-than-stellar eating habits. In an interview earlier this year, he said that he is "one quarter Coca-Cola" -- a statement he reaffirmed this weekend.

He and Munger sipped on Coke throughout the day on Saturday. At one point, Buffett switched over to pineapple juice, and throughout the afternoon session, Munger munched on peanut brittle. "If I'd been eating broccoli and Brussels sprouts all my life, I don't think I'd live as long," Buffett said.

And the Berkshire team isn't worried about the effects of consumer health concerns and trends on Coca-Cola  (KO), in which Berkshire holds a stake (i.e., PepsiCo's (PEP) decision to drop aspartame from drinks). "You'll see all food and beverage companies adjust to the preferences of consumers as they go along," Buffett said. In years, he believes Coca-Cola will be more popular than it is today.


One German Deal Leads to Another?

In February, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Detlev Louis Motorradvertriebs GmbH, a German motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer. And Buffet said he has nothing but love for Ute Louis, the widow of founder Detlev Louis, who sold the company.

In fact, Buffett liked Mrs. Louis so much that he said he would like to buy in Germany again. He said he expects to purchase at least one more German company in the next five years.

When Berkshire does, it will surely be employing the same philosophies it always has. "Investment principles do not stop at borders," Buffett said.

Munger, Unconvinced on Technology, Is OK with IBM

Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick Saturday that he bought more IBM (IBM) stock in the first quarter, building a stake he's had since 2011. When Munger was asked whether he tried to talk his business partner out of buying the stock in the first place, his response was a simple "no."

The two acknowledged IBM has been a been a bit of a mixed bag but said that it remains a very "credible" company.

Berkshire hasn't had the easiest time investing in technology -- or adopting it, for that matter. "Like it or not, we're dragged into modern reality," Munger said. Buffett's follow-up: "Doesn't sound like he likes it, does it?


Buffett Gives GEICO 40/60 Odds

Buffett has known Geico for more than six decades. He made his first purchase of the auto insurer's stock as a Columbia University business student in 1951 and turned it into a Berkshire subsidiary in 1996. The Geico gecko was everywhere this weekend - it even directed traffic for a while at the shareholders' picnic. But in the Q&A session, Buffett acknowledged it isn't always the best bet for drivers.

The Oracle of Omaha said that Geico provides the best insurance rate about 40% of the time. The rest of the time, a competitor might be able to give a better deal.

The explanation came in response to a shareholder's question regarding why he and his wife, both without any history of accidents and in their 70s, had received a high rate from Geico. Munger commented that being in an older age group and in better shape than contemporaries but paying more for insurance might be a pretty good trade-off.

You Can't Take It With You, but Buffett Won't Tell You What to Do With It

Buffett is a strong proponent of giving, but he clarified this weekend that his focus is on personal philanthropy, not corporate. His reasoning: his job as an executive is to work for shareholders, not a cause. He also made sure to warn that giving is a personal decision, as is what to do with one's estate.

He himself has signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. In his case, more than 99% of Buffett's wealth will go to philanthropy during his lifetime or at death.

"There's no Forbes 400 in the graveyard," he said on Saturday.


Good Things Happen to Good People - And Brands

The Berkshire Hathaway meeting isn't a typical business gathering -- it's a family event, too. And parents could be overheard emphasizing to their children the messages Buffett and Munger repeated throughout the day: Don't take credit for more than you do. Trustworthiness is more important than brains. When you get old, you'll have the reputation you deserve.

Similar principles can also be applied to business and, perhaps especially, brands. "A strong brand is really potent stuff," Buffett said.

 
Munger Compares Marriage and the Euro

Finding a business opportunity is comparable to finding a wife -- at least for Munger. "When you get married, you have to choose the best opportunity that will have you." That's just one of many family-related analogies and references the Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman made throughout the day.

When discussing the Euro and Greece's participation, he said, "You can't start a business with your drunken, shiftless brother-in-law." He also made clear he has lots of grandkids he wishes "would marry somebody suitable soon."

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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