(May 6, 1996) Buffett explains how Berkshire Hathaway felt it needed to protect investors by issuing new Class B shares designed to be 1/30th the price of the existing shares, which was then around $32,000 a share. He also reveals why the prospect of change at a company "scares the hell out of us," explains insurance "float" and it's enormous importance to Berkshire, calls portfolio diversification "protection against ignorance," and succinctly lists the three major ideas all investors need to know.
Berkshire's per-share book value soared 43.1 percent in 1995, but Buffett wrote in his annual letter there was "no reason to do handsprings." With the S&P up 37.6 percent, "any fool could make a bundle … and we did." In his annual letter, Buffett wrote glowingly that the acquisitions of GEICO, Helzberg's Diamond Shops, and R.C. Willey Home Furnishings would roughly double Berkshire's revenues.READ 1995 LETTER (DATED MAR. 1, 1996)