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Collection: Charlie Munger - #188 'We Almost Didn't Buy See's Candies'


Video Link: https://youtu.be/agzTjIJZmzQ


In this episode, Charlie Munger was asked why did he buy See's Candies?


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Story behind Buffett and Munger's See's Candies investment.

  • How Buffett and Munger almost blew the See's purchase?

  • The importance of lifelong learning.

To check out all Collection: Charlie Munger <click here>

 

[Transcript]

(Source: https://youtu.be/Rh1WCzfCP24)

JACK DANGERMOND 00:00

Okay, I got one final one. Charlie.


CHARLIE MUNGER 00:02

JACK DANGERMOND 00:03

Didn’t you buy See’s Candy?


CHARLIE MUNGER 00:05

Yes, I certainly did.


JACK DANGERMOND 00:06

Why did you do that?


CHARLIE MUNGER 00:10

Why did I do it?


JACK DANGERMOND 00:12

I mean, yeah anybody got a guess on.


CHARLIE MUNGER 00:14

That was a – I did it.


Well, here I wanted to confess something that will give you all encouragement because it will show how dumb we all were when we were young. And how we barely bought it.

The price was 35 million dollars and they had 10 million surplus cash, and they’re making 4 million dollars a year. So, hardly expensive and it was this iconic brand, and been created by a woman that was 70 years old when she founded the company, very interesting story.


And at the very end, we were about 100,000 dollars apart and Warren was used to saying goddammit, you know, I’ll bid 20 and 1/8 I don’t mean a quarter. And we just almost didn’t buy it.

And I would not – we just squeaked through, we made a wonderful decision because we were just barely smart enough to make a no-brainer and that teaches another lesson too. We all start out stupid and we all have a hard time staying sensible and you have to keep working at it. Berkshire would be a wreck today, if it were run by Warren and I knew when we started. We kept learning.


And I don’t think we’d have all the billions of stock of Coca-Cola we now have if we hadn’t bought See’s, you know, I mean there were huge consequences of getting over that last stupidity. We threw out our typical firm businesslike methods.

And what happened there, neither Warren and I deserve any real credit for it. My partner – I had wonderful partners all my life, it was a petroleum engineer. He just said to Warren and me, “you guys are all wrong on this. This is a wonderful company and you’re being way too chancy. There aren’t many companies like this.” And that he changed our minds.

So now, you know, how we were smart enough to buy See’s, barely. (Laughter) The answer is barely.

JACK DANGERMOND 02:47

You said to me in – okay, this is my last question.

CHARLIE MUNGER 02:50

By the way we’re smarter now. (Laughter)


JACK DANGERMOND 02:52

I’m glad – (Laughs) – everybody appreciates See’s. Don’t you guys love See’s? (Applause)


You said to me something about the high road and –


CHARLIE MUNGER 03:04

Well, that’s Warren’s famous remark, I love that.


JACK DANGERMOND 03:06

Share that.


CHARLIE MUNGER 03:08

Warren always says, “you should always take the high road because it’s less crowded.” (Laughter and Applause)

JACK DANGERMOND 03:17

We will close with that, ladies and gentlemen thank you for being around. (Applause)

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