Buffett says he's `having a hard time finding things to buy' with $15 billion


April 13, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

LONDON -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said yesterday that he was having trouble finding value in U.S. stocks.

"The general level of the stock market does not offer much opportunity to buy things at prices that we consider appropriate," said Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., at a news conference in London.

"We have $15 billion in cash or cash equivalents," he said. "Clearly, if we're sitting on that kind of money, it means I'm having a hard time finding things to buy."

Buffett said he remains bullish about Coca-Cola Co. and Gillette Co. Shares of both multinational companies have declined as growth abroad has slowed. Berkshire is the largest shareholder of Coke and Gillette.

"I have a very strong feeling that Coca-Cola will dominate a much larger soft-drink business 10 years from now than it does now," Buffet said, and that current obstacles, such as slowing sales overseas, won't hurt Coke and Gillette in the long term.

"Ten years from now we won't even remember that. I try to figure out where businesses are going to be in 10 years. I don't worry where they're going to be in 10 months."

Both Coke and Gillette holdings are long-term investments for Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett said. "They'll probably outlast me."

He said he'd like to make a $10 billion to $12 billion acquisition.

Pub Date: 4/13/99

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