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Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99

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OMAHA, Nebraska – Charlie Munger, who assisted Warren Buffett in transforming Berkshire Hathaway into an investment juggernaut, died in a California hospital. He was 99.

Berkshire Hathaway confirmed in a statement that Munger died Tuesday morning at the hospital, just over a month before his 100th birthday.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said. The legendary investor also paid respect to Munger in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders earlier this year.

Munger acted as Buffett’s sounding board for investment and business choices and helped run Berkshire Hathaway for more than five decades as its vice chairman.

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Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99

Munger had needed a wheelchair for years to move around, but he had stayed mentally alert. That was evident as he handled hours of questions at the annual meetings of Berkshire Hathaway and the Daily Journal Corp. earlier this year and in recent interviews with an investing podcast, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.

Munger liked to remain in the shadows and let Buffett be the face of Berkshire Hathaway, and he frequently downplayed his contributions to the company’s extraordinary success.

On the other hand, Buffett has always credited Munger for pushing him beyond his early value investing tactics to acquire wonderful businesses at low prices, such as See’s Candy.

“Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and human nature,” Buffett stated in 2008.

Buffett’s early success was founded on lessons learned from former Columbia University professor Ben Graham. He would buy stock in companies selling for less than their assets were worth and then sell the shares when the market price rose.

Munger and Buffett began purchasing Berkshire Hathaway stock in 1962 for $7 and $8 per share, respectively, and bought ownership of the New England textile factory in 1965. Over time, the two brothers molded Berkshire into its current conglomerate by reinvesting profits from its businesses in companies such as Geico Insurance and BNSF Railroad. They also kept a high-profile stock portfolio, including big Apple and Coca-Cola stakes. The stock reached $546,869 on Tuesday, and many investors became wealthy by holding on to it.

Munger gave a lengthy interview to CNBC earlier this month in anticipation of his 100th birthday, and the business network aired parts from that discussion on Tuesday. In his characteristically self-deprecating tone, Munger summarized Berkshire’s achievement as avoiding mistakes and working well into his and Buffett’s 90s.

“We got a little less crazy than most people and a little less stupid than most people and that really helped us,” remarked Munger. In a special letter he published in 2014 to commemorate 50 years of helping manage the company, he went into greater depth on the reasons for Berkshire’s success.

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Charlie Munger, Who Helped Warren Buffett Build Investment Powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway, Dies At 99

Buffett and Charlie resided more than 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) apart for their collaboration, but Buffett stated he would phone Munger in Los Angeles or Pasadena to confer on every major decision he made.

“Many will miss him, perhaps none more than Mr. Buffett, who relied heavily on his wisdom and counsel.” I envied their friendship. “They challenged each other while also seeming to enjoy each other’s company,” Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan said.

Berkshire would probably do fine without Charlie, according to CFRA Research analyst Cathy Seifert, but there is no way to replace the role he served. After all, Munger was one of the few people ready to tell Buffett he was incorrect about something.

“The most pronounced impact, I think, is going to be over the next several years as we see Buffett navigate without him,” he said.

Charlie grew raised in Omaha, Nebraska, only five blocks from Buffett’s current home, but because Munger is seven years older, the two men never met as youngsters, even though both worked at the grocery shop owned by Buffett’s grandfather and uncle.

When the two men met at an Omaha dinner party in 1959, Munger was a Southern California lawyer, and Buffett headed an investing business in Omaha.

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Buffett and Munger hit it off right away, according to the biography in the canonical book on Munger, “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.”

During the 1960s and 1970s, the two men traded investment ideas and occasionally invested in the same companies. They became the two largest shareholders in one of their mutual investments, trading stamp maker Blue Chip Stamp Co., and purchased See’s Candy, the Buffalo News, and Wesco. Munger was appointed vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in 1978 and chairman and president of Wesco Financial in 1984.

Berkshire’s legions of devoted shareholders who frequently filled an Omaha arena to hear the two men will recall Munger’s curmudgeonly comments when addressing questions alongside Buffett at the annual meetings.

Charlie was well-known for saying, “I have nothing to add” after several of Buffett’s lengthy responses at Berkshire meetings. However, Munger frequently provided crisp responses that cut to the heart of an issue, such as his advice on finding a solid investment in 2012.

“If it’s got a really high commission on it, don’t bother looking at it,” he told me.

Whitney Tilson, an investor, has attended the Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings for the past 26 years to learn from Charlie and Buffett, who shared life lessons and investing advice. Tilson stated that Charlie taught that after attaining some success, “your whole approach to life should be how not to screw it up, how not to lose what you’ve got” because reputation and integrity are the most valuable assets and can be lost in an instant.

“In the investment world, it’s the same thing is in your personal world, which is your main goal should be avoiding the catastrophic mistakes that could destroy an investment record, that can destroy a life,” he stated.

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“Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and human nature,” Buffett stated in 2008.

Munger famously summarized the counsel, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so (that) I never go there.”

Munger was well-known for being an avid reader and student of human behavior. He used several models from fields such as psychology, physics, and mathematics to evaluate potential investments.

Munger attended the University of Michigan in the 1940s but dropped out to serve as a meteorologist in the Army Air Corps during WWII.

He then acquired a law degree from Harvard University in 1948 despite having yet to complete an undergraduate degree. He co-founded a legal practice in Los Angeles that carries his name today, but he quickly realized that he preferred investing.

At one point, Charlie had a fortune of more than $2 billion and was named one of the wealthiest Americans. Munger’s fortune dwindled over time as he gave away more of it, but the ever-increasing value of Berkshire’s stock kept him affluent.

Munger has greatly contributed to Harvard-Westlake, Stanford University Law School, the University of Michigan, and the Huntington Library, among others. After his wife died in 2010, he also left much of his Berkshire stock to his eight children.

Charlie also served on the boards of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Los Angeles-based private Harvard-Westlake School. Munger also served on the board of Costco Wholesale Corp. and as chairman of the Daily Journal Corp. for many years.

SOURCE – (AP)

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2024: Starbucks And Workers United, Long At Odds, Say They’ll Restart Labor Talks

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Starbucks and the union representing its employees in the United States said Tuesday that they have agreed to begin negotiations to achieve a labour agreement.

The announcement was a watershed moment for the two parties, who had been at odds since Workers United initially organised baristas at a Starbucks location in Buffalo, New York, in late 2021.

“Starbucks and Workers United have a shared commitment to establishing a positive relationship in the interests of Starbucks partners,” the company stated. Workers United reiterated these remarks in a similar statement.

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Starbucks And Workers United, Long At Odds, Say They’ll Restart Labor Talks

Workers in more than 370 company-owned Starbucks stores in the United States have voted to unionise but have yet to reach a labour agreement with Starbucks.

The process has been cruel. Federal courts have sometimes ordered Starbucks to restore employees fired after leading unionisation efforts at their locations. The National Labour Relations Board’s regional offices have also filed at least 120 complaints against Starbucks for unfair labour practices, including refusing to bargain and reserving wage hikes and other benefits for non-union employees.

Starbucks stated Tuesday that, as a gesture of goodwill, it will provide workers in unionised locations the benefits promised in May 2022, including the option for customers to tip their credit card purchases.

Starbucks was the first to say it desired a better relationship with the union. In December, the corporation stated it intended to reopen labour negotiations to ratify contract agreements by 2024. Before that, the two parties had not spoken in seven months.

During last week’s conversations, the two sides agreed there was “a constructive path forward on the broader issue of the future of organising and collective bargaining at Starbucks.”

starbucks

Starbucks And Workers United, Long At Odds, Say They’ll Restart Labor Talks

On Tuesday, Starbucks and Workers United announced that they will also consider ending their case. Starbucks sued Workers United in October, alleging that a pro-Palestinian social media post from a union account early in the Israel-Hamas conflict enraged hundreds of customers and harmed the company’s brand.

The corporation insisted that the union not use its name or likeness. Workers United countersued, claiming Starbucks defamed the union and indicated it backed terrorism.

starbucks

Starbucks And Workers United, Long At Odds, Say They’ll Restart Labor Talks

“While there is plenty of work ahead, coming together to develop this framework is a significant step forward and a clear demonstration of a shared commitment to working collaboratively and with mutual respect,” the organisation said. Starbucks repeated the comments.

SOURCE – (AP)

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FAA Gives Boeing 90 Days To Come Up With A Plan To Address Quality Issues

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The Federal Aviation Administration imposed a 90-day deadline for Boeing to address quality and safety issues.

According to the agency, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker and Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun met for a full day on Tuesday, during which Whitaker made the demand.

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FAA Gives Boeing 90 Days To Come Up With A Plan To Address Quality Issues

That discussion occurred the day after a year-long FAA-commissioned investigation discovered a “disconnect” between Boeing executives and employees about safety, with employees fearing transfer or stopped career progression for reporting safety issues.

The discussion came ahead of the expected release of a six-week FAA investigation of Boeing’s production line, which was prompted by investigators discovering that key bolts were not put on a Boeing 737 Max 9 door plug that burst open during flight.

The FAA stated that the Boeing plan must address shortcomings in the company’s Safety Management System, or SMS, and integrate the SMS programme with another quality programme. SMS is a guidebook designed to guide staff through the procedures necessary to ensure the safety of flights.

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FAA Gives Boeing 90 Days To Come Up With A Plan To Address Quality Issues

However, despite a comprehensive rewrite of the handbook in recent years, the panel discovered that “many Boeing employees did not demonstrate knowledge of Boeing’s SMS efforts, nor its purpose and procedures.”

The group that reported on Boeing’s safety inadequacies on Monday suggested that the firm resolve those flaws within six months; the FAA’s new directive sets a shorter deadline.

faa

FAA Gives Boeing 90 Days To Come Up With A Plan To Address Quality Issues

Boeing’s proposal must result in a “measurable, systemic shift in manufacturing quality control,” according to the FAA.

Boeing has a history of safety breaches. The January 5 blowout incident resulted in a 19-day emergency grounding of all Max 9s and renewed scrutiny of Boeing following the tragic Max 8 disasters in 2018 and 2019.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

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LONDON ROTHSCHILD — his family announced that Jacob Rothschild, 87, a financier and philanthropist from the legendary Rothschild banking line, died on Monday.

Jacob began his career in 1963 at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, before branching out to develop enterprises and charity organisations. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” a statement from his family stated.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

“He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony, and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life,” they continued, without revealing any other information.

According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the Rothschild family is worth approximately 825 million pounds ($1 billion). It donates millions of pounds to Jewish interests, education, and art.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the political and cultural heavyweights who paid tribute to Rothschild. Blair lauded him as a “towering figure in Britain’s Jewish community” and praised his efforts to promote Middle East peace.

Jacob was born in Berkshire, west of London. He attended Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

After leaving the Rothschild Bank, he took over Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. He served as chairman of the business, one of the largest investment trusts on the London Stock Exchange, until 2019.

He also co-founded the then-J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980 and served as deputy chairman of what was then BSkyB Television, among other duties.

In the cultural sector, he served as chairman of the National Gallery of London’s board of trustees and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

The Rothschild Foundation, which manages the family’s former home, the country house Waddesdon Manor, announced that Jacob Rothschild’s daughter Hannah will follow him as chair.

Jacob was married to Serena for over 50 years until she died in 2019. They have four children (Hannah, Beth, Emily, and Nat) and several grandchildren.

SOURCE – (AP)

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