Sunday, September 20, 2009

Buffett and Lehman Bros

From Times on line blog….

He may be a financial guru. But Warren Buffett's inability to work his mobile phone might have played a role in the collapse of economic markets last year.

Time has a story about a phone call between Buffett and Bob Diamond, president of Barclays. Diamond had just 24 hours to stop Lehman Brothers collapsing and a last-minute plan on how he might get Buffett to underwrite it.

Buffett asked Diamond to send over more details. Here's what happened next

Buffett got back to his hotel room around midnight and was surprised to find ... nothing. Lehman went under, and within days, the world was in a full-blown financial crisis.

Fast forward 10 months. Buffett, who admits he never has really learned the basics of his cell phone, asked his daughter Susan about a little indicator he had noticed on the screen: "Can you figure out what's on there?" It turned out to be the message from Diamond that he had been waiting for that night.
I caught up with Buffett afterward, and asked him whether, in retrospect, he might have gone for the deal. He pulled the simple little Samsung phone out of his pocket and pondered it for a moment. It's entirely possible, he suggested. "I don't know."

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