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为什么沃伦·巴菲特认为购买微软股票“会是个错误”

Jen Wieczner 2018年05月14日

巴菲特与盖茨的友谊有个界限:他绝不会购买微软的股票。

伯克希尔·哈撒韦公司(Berkshire Hathaway)的首席执行官沃伦·巴菲特和微软(Microsoft)的创始人比尔·盖茨相识已有27年。他们喜欢一起玩桥牌,或是在伯克希尔·哈撒韦的年会上打打乒乓球。

不过两位亿万富翁的友谊也有界限:巴菲特绝不会购买微软的股票。

这位著名的选股者在5月初的伯克希尔·哈撒韦年会上表示:“伯克希尔购买微软的股票会是个错误。”

众所周知,巴菲特在投资生涯的大部分时间里都对科技股敬而远之,尽管他在2016年购买了苹果(Apple)的股票,让股东们大吃一惊。如今它是伯克希尔·哈撒韦所持股票中最大的一部分。

不过,巴菲特对微软的抗拒与其商业模式或行业无关。问题出在盖茨身上,他在2004年加入了伯克希尔·哈撒韦的董事会,又在2014年以微软董事长的身份退休。

巴菲特在奥马哈的伯克希尔年会上表示:“如果一周或一个月后,(微软)的收益超出预期或进行了并购——不管哪种——比尔和我都会错误地成为各种联想和控诉的目标,甚至会有人认为他以某种方式告诉了我什么信息,反之亦然。”

换句话说,巴菲特在避免哪怕一点内线交易的嫌疑——无论那有多么离谱——或任何可能引发这种怀疑的行为。

巴菲特补充道:“我试图远离某些事情,完全是因为它们可能引发推测,认为我们可能有过交流,我可能和某人说了某些事情。如果在我们买了股票后立刻发生了一些好事,许多人就不会相信我们了。”

当然,巴菲特有很多机会在远离内线交易嫌疑的情况下购买微软股票。微软在1986年上市,比巴菲特认识盖茨还要早了五年多。为什么奥马哈的先知当时没有投资呢?

巴菲特承认:“早期没有这样做的原因很明显,因为愚蠢。”

巴菲特表示,如今微软是伯克希尔·哈撒韦公司出于伦理冲突而“不考虑投资的少数几家公司”之一。(他没有说出其他几家公司的名字。)

他补充道:“不过,伦理冲突和我的愚蠢让我们损失了很多钱。”

至少,这似乎没有影响他与盖茨的友谊。(龙8国际|官网)

译者:严匡正 

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have known each other 27 years, enjoy playing bridge together and rallying in ping pong at the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting.

But the billionaires’ friendship has its boundaries: Buffett will never buy Microsoft stock.

“It just would be a mistake for Berkshire to buy Microsoft,” the famous stock picker said at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting Saturday.

Buffett has been notoriously averse to tech stocks for most of his investing career, though in 2016 he stunned shareholders by buying Apple stock, which is now by far Berkshire Hathaway’s largest holding.

Yet Buffett’s resistance to Microsoft has nothing to do with its business model or industry. Rather, the problem lies with Gates, who joined the Berkshire Hathaway board in 2004, and retired as chairman of Microsoft in 2014.

“If something happened a week later, a month later, in terms of [Microsoft] having better earnings than expected or making an acquisition—anything—both Bill and I would, incorrectly, but would be a target of suggestions and accusations, perhaps even, that somehow he had told me something, or vice versa,” Buffett said at the Berkshire meeting in Omaha.

In other words, Buffett is concerned with avoiding even the slightest perception of insider trading—however false—or anything that could invite such suspicions.

“I try to stay away from a few things just totally because the inference would be drawn that we might have talked, I might have talked to somebody about something,” Buffett added. “There’d be a lot of people who wouldn’t believe us if something good immediately happened after we bought it.”

Of course, Buffett had plenty of opportunities to buy Microsoft stock without any remote appearance of insider trading. Microsoft went public in 1986—more than five years before Buffett even met Gates. So why didn’t the Oracle of Omaha invest back then?

“In the earlier years, it’s very clear—the answer is stupidity,” Buffett admitted.

Now, Microsoft is just one of “a few [companies] that are off the list” of what Berkshire Hathaway is willing to invest in because of ethical conflicts, Buffett said. (He did not name the others in this group.)

“But both that and my stupidity have cost us a lot of money,” he added.

At least it doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of his friendship with Gates.

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