During today’s annual shareholder meeting of Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, the Oracle of Omaha admitted he failed to grasp Amazon’s potential and also said he regrets missing a chance to get in early on Google.
“I was too dumb to realize” Amazon would become so big, he said. “I did not think [CEO Jeff Bezos] could succeed on the scale he has,” Buffett said, adding that he “really underestimated the brilliance of the execution.”
Throughout his legendary career, Buffett has stressed the importance of investing in products that are tangible, one reason he bought into companies like Coca-Cola and Dairy Queen over the years. Aside from not being tech-savvy, Buffett said he always felt Amazon shares “looked expensive.”
The investment guru self-deprecatingly admitted that he and Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger “miss a lot of things, and we’ll keep doing it.”
Some Wall Street analysts have predicted Amazon, whose market value is nearly $450 billion, is on course to become a trillion-dollar company. Its shares have risen by 38% over the past year, well ahead of the 28% gain in the Nasdaq in that span, helping Bezos to leapfrog Buffett in personal net worth.
Shed no tears for Buffett, however. Berkshire, a conglomerate that wholly owns Geico Insurance and other assets, has seen its share price double over the past five years. Because the stock has never split, a single share now costs more than $250,000.