Warren Buffett wrote to Leon Cooperman about inventory buybacks, taxing the wealthy, and the presidency.  Listed below are the three letters from Cooperman’s new memoir
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Warren Buffett wrote to Leon Cooperman about inventory buybacks, taxing the wealthy, and the presidency. Listed below are the three letters from Cooperman’s new memoir

Leon Cooperman

Leon Cooperman.Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters

  • Warren Buffett wrote to Leon Cooperman about inventory buybacks, taxing the wealthy, and Henry Singleton.

  • When Cooperman was contemplating a run for president, Buffett joked that he may “hand Nebraska” to him.

  • Cooperman shared three letters he acquired from Buffett in his newly revealed memoir.

Warren Buffett wrote to Leon Cooperman on matters starting from Henry Singleton and Teledyne to inventory buybacks, earnings taxes, and Cooperman’s potential presidential bid.

Cooperman, the previous CEO of Goldman Sachs’ asset administration division, shared three letters from Buffett in his newly revealed memoir, “From the Bronx to Wall Road: Fifty Years in Finance and Philanthropy.”

Listed below are the three messages and the context surrounding them:

1. Expensive Editor

Cooperman, who turned his hedge fund Omega Advisors right into a household workplace in 2018, wrote an open letter to the editor of Enterprise Week in 1982. He was upset by the journal’s important profile of Henry Singleton, co-founder and CEO of Teledyne.

In his letter, the billionaire investor praised Singleton’s talent in rising his group by way of acquisitions and boosting efficiency in Teledyne’s subsidiaries. Cooperman additionally praised the industrialist for getting again shares at enticing costs, investing extra money from Teledyne’s insurance coverage enterprise in shares, and constructing the corporate’s money reserves.

Buffett wrote him a notice after studying the letter, which Cooperman nonetheless retains in his workplace:

Expensive Lee,

I at all times benefit from the high quality of your writing and the standard of your considering. Your letter to Enterprise Week concerning Teledyne was 100% appropriate.

Finest Regards,


2. Buybacks, good and unhealthy

Cooperman praised Singleton once more at a price investing occasion in 2007. He pointed to the Teledyne chief for instance of an government who did buybacks the appropriate approach, he mentioned. Buy back shares only at a discount from their intrinsic value.

Buffett wrote to Cooperman after his speech to specific his approval:

Henry was a supervisor that each one buyers and CEOs ought to be CEOs of, and one which MBA college students ought to examine. Ultimately he was 100% rational, and there are only a few CEOs I could make that assertion about. The inventory buyback case is fascinating to me. It is because the reply could be very easy. You are able to do this when and solely then you definitely purchase greenback payments at a transparent worth and at a deep low cost.

As a basic statement, I’d say that the majority corporations that did inventory buybacks thirty years in the past had been doing so for the appropriate causes, and most corporations that do it now are unsuitable once they achieve this. Time after time I see managers who’re making an attempt to be “fashionable” or, maybe subconsciously, hoping to shore up their inventory.

Loews is a superb instance of an organization that has at all times purchased again inventory for the appropriate motive. I may give examples on the contrary, however I attempt to comply with the adage “reward by title, criticize by class.”

Finest Regards,


3. Hand over Nebraska and tax the wealthy

Kupperman briefly thought-about working for president in 2011. He laid out a nine-point platform that included withdrawing US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, rebuilding US infrastructure, liberalizing the home vitality trade, and reining in authorities spending.

The veteran investor additionally focused folks incomes greater than $500,000 a yr, suggesting they may face a ten% earnings surcharge for 3 years. Cooperman despatched his plan to Buffett, and he immediately requested the Berkshire chairman what he thought the utmost tax price ought to be imposed on the highest-income folks in the US.

Buffett expressed his help for each Cooperman 2012 and minimal taxes in his response:

Expensive Lee:

If I run for president, I can save Nebraska. Simply let me know whenever you’re prepared.

There are two potential methods to extend charges on these with $1 million or extra taxable with a second step of $10 million. One is to extend the speed by $1 million by 5 factors and by $10 million by ten factors.

Definitely the opposite strategy could be to impose a minimal tax (counting earnings tax and payroll taxes paid by or on behalf of taxpayers) of, say, 30% on $1 million, and say 35% on $10 million. The most recent tax will hit me arduous and I am leaning in the direction of it. Merely altering the marginal price wouldn’t have an effect on me in any respect.

Let me know your ideas. No matter they’re, you continue to have my vote.


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