Looks like 3027 shares purchased in the interval Feb 15 - Mar 2.

(3026.9613333)

Does that look right?

Jim

Yes 3027 A equivalents is also my figure.

BTW this proxy was released back on the 11th of March so isn’t new information.

*Looks like 3027 shares purchased in the interval Feb 15 - Mar 2.*

*(3026.9613333)*

*Does that look right?*

*Jim*

Yes, that’s also what I get (on an A-share equivalent basis). That’s compared to (if my notes are correct) 1288 shares in the interval Jan. 1 - Feb. 14. So the pace picked up in the second half of February compared to the first 1.5 months of the year. However, it was still a noticeable slowdown from repurchases in 2021. In total, I calculate that Berkshire spent a little more than $2B on repurchases from Jan. 1 - Mar. 2. In 2021, the *monthly* average was higher than $2B.

When we get the Q1 report later this week, I’ll be very interested to see whether Berkshire repurchased many shares since Mar. 2. The share price since Mar. 2 has generally been higher than any known repurchases.

I’ve been doing some work to see how much Warren has been paying for repurchases based on known book.

When the policy was changed back in 2018, in August of 2018 he bought back just shy of $1B at an avg price of 207 vs. book of 145, so 1.43x

During March of 2019 avg price of repo was 201 vs. book of 142, so 1.42x

During most of 2020, post pandemic and early 2021 he paid reasonably lower, say low 1.3x to 1.15x.

In June of 2021, repurchased $3.4 Billion at 280 vs. book of 196, so 1.43x.

Looks to me that the top end of where Warren would buy at any size is 1.43x known book, which gets us to $327 or so now, soon to be updated in a few days.

*Looks to me that the top end of where Warren would buy at any size is 1.43x known book, which gets us to $327 or so now, soon to be updated in a few days.*

That sounds about right.

We also know that there was some buying in January and February 14, even if it was at a reduced rate. Prices at that time were between $300 and $324, representing 1.41-1.52 times book (which was $213.38/share, based on the Q3 report.) So Buffett paid at least 1.41x, and maybe as high as 1.52 times book. And then some more tepid buying from Feb 15 to Mar 2, some of which may have been at the new book value published on Feb 28 which was $231.10. If there were any purchases in that first week after the Q4 book was known, they would have been at prices between $317 and $324, i.e. at 1.37x to 1.40x the new book value. At the current price of about $331, we are now at 1.43x book again, so if your theory is right, we may have had ongoing repurchases in the last few weeks.

What the new book value will be is anyone’s guess (anyone?), but share prices are generally down between Dec 31st and Mar 31st, with the S&P down from 4766 to 4530, a drop of about 5%. Half of the equity portfolio (Apple) is easy to calculate, and that had dropped just 1.5% in the first quarter. On the other hand, Berkshire’s businesses will have thrown off lots of cash in meantime, and underwriting in particular has been pretty good, so my guess is book value will be up again, when it is published on Saturday, maybe 2%, putting the new book at about $236, and today’s price $331 price would be down to 1.40x book again.

Go to it, Mr Hamburg! Although if Buffett does use some sort of updated book value to make his purchasing decisions, we may have a somewhat lower book value today than on March 31st, so that would put the P/B multiple a bit higher again.

dtb