Billionaire Warren Buffett dismisses Brexit fears as he says he is ‘ready to buy something in the UK tomorrow’ and adds: ‘I’m having more fun than any 88-year-old anywhere’
- Buffett, 88, endorsed Britain by welcoming chance to invest in ‘trusted’ system
- He said Britain’s departure from EU had no bearing on his willingness to invest
- Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway previously had stake in supermarket Tesco
- His firm also owns Northern Powergrid, which delivers electricity to homes in the north-east of England
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has handed a big endorsement to Britain ahead of Brexit by dismissing fears about its impact on the economy
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has handed a big endorsement to Britain ahead of Brexit by dismissing fears about its impact on the economy.
The 88-year-old American, who is worth an estimated $88billion (£68 billion) and is the world’s third richest man, said he is ready to ‘buy something in the UK tomorrow’, and welcomed the chance to put his money in a ‘trusted’ system.
Mr Buffett, whose interests in Britain have included investments in supermarket giant Tesco through his £550 billion conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, added that Britain’s departure from the EU had no bearing on his willingness to put more money in the UK.
His firm, which owns more than 60 companies, would never understand ‘any other culture or the tax laws’ as well as the US, but they could ‘come awfully close in Britain’, Mr Buffett said, speaking in an interview with the Financial Times.
‘We welcome the chance to put money any place where we think we understand and sort of trust the system,’ he said.
Despite his age, Mr Buffett, who was speaking in his office in Omaha, Nebrasaka, did not announce any plans to step down.
‘I’m having a vacation every day,’ he said.
The 88-year-old American, who is worth an estimated $88billion said he is ready to ‘buy something in the UK tomorrow’, and welcomed the chance to put his money in a ‘trusted’ system
‘This is the pleasure palace here – you’re sitting in it now. I have more fun here than I think any 88-year-old is having, virtually anywhere in the world.’
Mr Buffett has invested before in the UK but with mixed success. He previously branded his investment in Tesco a ‘huge mistake’, with shares in the chain losing 60 per cent of their value between 2008 and 2015.
And he failed last year in an £115 billion bid to buy Unilever.
But Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership of Newcastle-based electricity distributor Northern Powergrid, which supplies businesses and homes in the North-East of England, has been more successful.
The business delivers $1billion in revenues and $300million in profits every year.
And his returns on shares in companies, ranging from Coke to Apple, has beaten the US stock market index, the S&P 500, by almost 2.5 million percentage points, the FT says.
Berkshire’s footprint in the UK is likely to get bigger after Mr Buffett told his firm’s shareholders earlier this year that he was seeking an ‘elephant-sized acquisition’ and hopes ‘to invest significant sums across borders’.
Around 40,000 people are expected to attend the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in Nebraska next Saturday to hear Buffett speak.
Who is Warren Buffett?
Warren Buffett is worth an estimated $88billion
The American business investor, who was born in Nebraska in August 1930, is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which wholly owns companies such as Geico and Dairy Queen and parts of Cocoa Cola, Kraft Heinz and Apple.
Buffett began buying up stock in Berkshire Hathaway, which started as a textile manufacturing firm, in the 1960s.
He assumed control of the company in 1965 and phased out its manufacturing interests before buying interests in the Washington Post, insurance firm Geico and oil company Exxon.
The firm has gone on to become one of the largest investment companies in the world, with assets of more than $700billion.
Buffett purchased his first shares, in an Oklahoma oil company, at the age of 11.
In 1952, he married his first wife Susan Thompson and the couple had three children – Susan, Howard and Peter – before 1960.
Susan Buffett died in 2004 from a cerebral hemorrhage after suffering from cancer and Mr Buffett went on to marry his second wife Astrid in 2006.
In 2006, Mr Buffett announced plans to give more than 80 per cent of his wealth away to charity.
Buffett’s key moments
- August 30 1930 – Buffett is born in Omaha, Nebraska to Leila and Howard Buffett
- 1942 – Buffett buys his first stock, aged 11
- 1952 – Marries Susan Thompson
- 1957 – Purchased a house in Omaha for little more than $30,000 and still lives there
- 1965 – Takes control of Berkshire Hathaway, which at that point is a struggling textile business
- 1991 – Becomes chairman of investment bank Solomon Brothers to try to save the struggling firm from being consumed by crisis.
- 1996 – Buys insurance firm Geico
- 2004 – his first wife Susan dies
- 2006 – Pledges to give away 85 per cent of his wealth