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Berkshire Beyond BuffettThe Enduring Value of Values$
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Lawrence Cunningham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231170048

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231170048.001.0001

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(p.211) 15 Challenges
Berkshire Beyond Buffett

Lawrence A. Cunningham

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers some of the challenges that Buffett’s potential successors might face. One of these is realizing that Buffett’s unique approach to acquisitions, which has served Berkshire well, is difficult to emulate. Most corporations adopt a formal plan charting desired sectors in which to expand, sometimes even naming acquisition targets. In contrast, Buffett calls Berkshire’s acquisition strategy “haphazard” and “serendipitous,” neither “carefully crafted” nor “sophisticated.” Another challenge is to recognize that, even if all of Berkshire’s traits are desirable, the values will inevitably conflict. Berkshire culture offers guidance on the trade-offs within its own value system. Managers have authority over all decisions except those affecting Berkshire’s reputation or capital allocation.

Keywords:   Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, corporate succession, acquisitions, management

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