Warren Buffett’s only public investment thesis

Although Warren Buffett is open and transparent about most things he never discusses the details of his investment theses. That is too bad since that is probably what most of us investors are interested in. But there is actually one investment case that he has described publicly. And it is not any investment, but his favourite and probably most important investment, Geico.

Warren wrote the article when he was 21 years old and working as a security broker at his father’s investment firm Buffett-Falk & Co. He had just received his degree from Columbia where he studied under his mentor Benjamin Graham.

What struck me is that, contrary to public perception about his old strategy, Warren was investing in a fast growing company with competitive advantages. Although he paid a value multiple of 8 times earnings, Geico was clearly not a cigar-butt or liquidation play. On the contrary, Warren discusses the advantages the company has compared to its competitors. Another thing that struck me is that he only mentions management and insider ownership briefly. That is a factor that he has focused more on as he has developed. That said, the quality of the analysis is high and impressive given his young age. Already at 21, he was good at making difficult things sound simple.

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