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Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) reports holding a 1.66M share stake in Lee Enterprises (LEE) as of...

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) reports holding a 1.66M share stake in Lee Enterprises (LEE) as of March 31, valued at about $2.1M. Berkshire had withheld the information regarding the position in its earlier May disclosure after requesting the information be kept confidential, but the request was denied.
Comments (7)
  • Every once in a while there is a crack in the wall of insanity. However small this jesture, it is a giant leap for regulation being applied consistently. There is a reason why we have laws, and that the SEC chose to enforce them equitably in this instance is a huge step forward.

     

    Could someone explain to me why things have ever been otherwise? You and i could go on trading this stock while a privleged few, otherwsie sanctioned by bought and paid for regulators, could be on a completely different tack due to their (legal?) ability to act on material, non public information which is unavailable to the rest of us muppets.
    5 Jun 2012, 08:41 PM Reply Like
  • I can't claim much fondness for insiders trading on material nonpublic information - not much fun for the rest of us folks - but in this case, I don't really see what the material nonpublic information you're talking about is. Buffet (or one of his portfolio managers) wanted to buy LEE...but it takes time to get into the position, and now that the cat's out of the bag, the remaining shares are getting bid up.

     

    What kind of 'normal investor' actually benefits from these types of disclosures? Only the first fastest few who put the buy order in before the others. Definitely not me; I most certainly do not have my eyes glued to a Bloomberg or to SEC disclosure notices all day (I suspect, but am by no means certain, that you likewise derived no tangible personal benefit from this notice). So the entities who benefited are probably: a) HFT funds whose computers read and act upon headlines before any human could and, secondarily b) the very fastest of traders who operate after-hours. Not exactly the the guys most in need of regulatory support.

     

    This disclosure, I think, does more disservice to Berkshire shareholders than anything else. I doubt it helps smaller investors; it simply restricts Berkshire's ability to acquire shares in a presumably cheap company (small, though it is), and transfers that value over to HFT funds and nimble traders. Where's the value to the smaller investors? If anything, this disclosure marginally hurt smaller investors (who are far more likely, I presume, to be Berkshire shareholders than HFT operators), to the benefit of the WallStreeters that certain disclosure regulation presumes to protect against.

     

    Disclosure: No positions in Berkshire or LEE (or anything even tangentially related).

     

    Secondary Disclosure: I think our whole regulatory insider trading framework needs to be rewritten, as I believe it often harms smaller investors more than it helps.
    5 Jun 2012, 11:13 PM Reply Like
  • Let's suppose you did own the shares, as many people had. Warren accumulates a position, and is required to file, but he gets an exemption and there is no public disclosure as required by law.

     

    You sell your shares because there is no news. Three months later, or whenever the exemption expires, the news comes out that Warren has a position and the stock pops. You feel like an idiot for selling into the hands of buyers who knew that Warren was accumulating a position, while you had no access to this material, non public information. That's why the law exists, and why there should be no exemption simply because Warren chose a small, illiquid stock into which to place his funds.

     

    I agree on the HFT issues, etc., but you can thank guys like Harold Bradley for that. They wanted direct, low cost access to the markets without an intermediary. They got it. So did a million other computer jockeys. Their mutual fund perforamnce still sucks--like a reduction of a few pennies per share in commish was going to make up for poor stock selection. Haha.

     

    Be careful for what you wish. But in the meantime, i am VERY pleased to see the law being enforced equitably.
    6 Jun 2012, 08:53 AM Reply Like
  • You didn't say it, but your impatient hapless seller could have sold to Berkshire. Just as (or more) annoying, it would be. I agree: Why should a powerful buyer be able to buy in a shielded fashion. By luck I was a bit ahead of BH and avoided selling at 1.50 some weeks back when there was (it seems) a confusion between a Thomas Lee-named entity and our LEE; and missed selling at 1.50 y'day by happenstance but have no complaint again; and have some added hope that the $2 or more level an SA writer projected a while back (and maybe tipped me; or encouraged me) is minimally reasonable for a takeover. If such is to be. I actually think my tip to the stock just came off liking one of their websites on an otherwise random subject and thinking they'd prob. survive in new media world. Which I've had plenty of times to question in interim (bankruptcy?!?) but ... that's what it's all about, right? I think WB u'stands that. Funny exemption request, I'd say, really, end of day.
    7 Jun 2012, 01:32 PM Reply Like
  • I do own this stock not much going on the last few years.This stock trade is 3.00 range.I did spend time in Omaha,fun time stock same as last year.I do like Warren, he is very alert.
    6 Jun 2012, 01:16 AM Reply Like
  • Poor old senile Warren keeps buying paper and car companies thinking that will make up for (BRK.A) missing the decades long
    run in awesome tech stocks like (http://bit.ly/pFSoX2) and rare metals like (http://bit.ly/KFxq05)
    Comp graph back testing for 5 years reveals those 2 to be CRUSHING no dividend Berkksire sadly just an under-performing
    mini-mutual fund these days.They did have their days in the last century when the (http://bit.ly/HA0C4Y) was running kudos to them for that.But time to retire if you dress up as a paper boy at your shareholders meeting.Being a class clown will not help folks accumulate wealth.
    6 Jun 2012, 05:17 AM Reply Like
  • Every buyer of papers senile? ... We haven't even come up with a new name for such co's yet ... but I am hoping not. You short BRK, by chance? Your research/basic points look good though (a) not necessarily definitive on "BRK is bad" and (b) I'm not going to follow even that last sort of intriguing link today. Any REAL signs of senility in WB? Just curious.
    7 Jun 2012, 01:39 PM Reply Like
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