Following up on the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) shareholder meeting, various analysts and pundits have been trying their hand at figuring out what company Buffett didn't buy for $22 billion. Certainly it would make a nice rumor: it can be reheated at any time for the next year, good for a quick pop for the perpetrator. But the question here is, why is this phantom acquisition that got away so credible?
It's pretty simple. The Oracle is known for being greedy when others are fearful, taking a long term view, and buying quality. The thing is, there are a lot of quality companies trading very low, because there's a lot of fear out there, and not too much long term thinking.
Everybody knows this is the type of market that creates openings for the oracular octogenarian, but somehow it seems preferable sit on the sidelines and let him run with the ball.
I'm not going to name any names. There are plenty of single digit P/E's out there, plenty of cash heavy balance sheets, plenty of under-appreciated American icons, etc.
The most likely outcome is, those who huddle on the sidelines, listening to Nouriel Roubini, John Hussman, David Rosenberg et al, will be dumbfounded a few short years from now when the nimble nonagenarian will be skipping away with his winnings.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.