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商业 - 金融

巴菲特回购股票,改变伯克希尔规则

Carol J. Loomis 2012年12月14日

伯克希尔·哈撒韦公司回购了12亿美元股票,是公司历史上规模最大的一次股票回购行为。回购价格为每股131,000美元,约为第三季度末伯克希尔股票票面价值的118%,超出了此前伯克希尔规定的110%。回购之后,伯克希尔公告称,今后股票回购的价格上限提高到票面价值的120%。

    沃伦·巴菲特

    周三,伯克希尔·哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway)又有大动作。它斥巨资买进大笔股票,消息传出,市场反响热烈,公司A级股票价格上涨了2.5%,达到134,200美元。

    此次买进的对象与公司主席兼CEO沃伦·巴菲特一直跟踪的公司不同。实际上,伯克希尔公司宣布,公司从一个长期投资者手中回购了12亿美元股票。

    此次回购是截至目前为止,伯克希尔规模最大的一次股票回购。

    而A级股票每股131,000美元的回购价格也令人匪夷所思。该价格约为第三季度末伯克希尔股票票面价值的118%,稍高于市场估算截至目前公司股票票面价值的百分比。131,000美元约为当前公司股票每股票面价值的115%。

    即便是115%,仍然令外界吃惊,因为早在2011年9月,伯克希尔曾规定回购股票的价格上限为票面价值的110%。

    那么,这一次到底有哪些变化呢?一位大投资者希望出售其持有的伯克希尔股票,巴菲特认为,这次回购大笔股票(9,200股A级股票)的机会绝对物有所值。而卖方也认为一次性出售好过将股票在市场中分散销售。

    伯克希尔并没有公布投资者的身份。外界也在纷纷猜测,不过,大规模持有伯克希尔股票的股东有很多,要想确定此次投资者的身份并不容易。

    伯克希尔在公告中表示,除了回购这笔股票,公司还将股票回购的价格上限提高到票面价值的120%。

    许多伯克希尔股东一直认为公司股票价值被低估,并希望巴菲特提升公司股价,公司这次的举动让这些股东兴奋不已。每一届伯克希尔年度大会上总会有人提起巴菲特为什么不加大回购力度的问题。

    由《财富》杂志(Fortune )和笔者共同发行的巴菲特《跳着踢踏舞去上班》(Tap Dancing To Work)一书介绍了伯克希尔回购股票的历史。巴菲特曾在1999年表示,有时候自己也会错过回购的机会。他还表示,回购的决定可能会弄巧成拙。也就是说,他只是宣布伯克希尔将回购股票,这个消息就会推动公司股票上涨,结果导致回购价格超出伯克希尔的预期。

    Berkshire Hathaway bought an "elephant" Wednesday, and the price of the company's A stock jumped by 2.5% to $134,200 as the market applauded the news.

    This elephant was a different breed from the corporate kind chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has been stalking. Instead, Berkshire announced that itbought $1.2 billion of its own stockfrom the estate of a long-time shareholder.

    This is by far the largest amount of its own stock the company has ever bought.

    The price, too -- $131,000 per Class A share -- was a mindbender. It is about 118% of Berkshire's book value at the end of the third quarter and a slightly lower percentage of what book value can be estimated to have grown to by now. So perhaps $131,000 is 115% of what book value per share now is.

    What's startling about even 115% is that Berkshire had made a new offer in September 2011 to buy its own stock at prices up to 110% of book value -- but no higher.

    What appears to have changed? Berkshire (BRKA) stock owned by a large estate came up for sale, and Buffett decided the chance to buy a huge chunk of stock -- 9,200 Class A shares -- was worth the price. The seller, meanwhile, probably decided a one-lump sale was superior to dribbling stock into the market.

    Berkshire did not announce the identity of the estate. There will be speculation about who it was, of course, but there are so many under-the-radar holders of big amounts of Berkshire stock that the quest will not be easy.

    Berkshire said in its announcement that, besides buying this block of stock, it was simultaneously raising its limits on the price it would pay for its own shares to 120% of book value.

    Today's moves will please the many Berkshire shareholders who believe the company's stock is undervalued and have wanted Buffett to pay up. Questions about why he doesn't buy more aggressively are a perennial at Berkshire's annual meeting.

    The Buffett book that Fortune and I have just released, Tap Dancing To Work, gives the history of Berkshire's buying in its own stock. Buffett said on an occasion in 1999 that he had sometimes "erred" in not buying in stock and has also said that a decision to buy is likely to be self-defeating. That is, his mere announcement that Berkshire would buy has the effect of sending the stock up -- to a price that exceeds what Berkshire would pay..

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