. At what point would Berkshire initiate a share repurchase program?
"There is only one combination of facts that makes it advisable for a company to repurchase its shares: First, the company has available funds -- cash plus sensible borrowing capacity -- beyond the near-term needs of the business and, second, finds its stock selling in the market below its intrinsic value, conservatively-calculated. To this we add a caveat: Shareholders should have been supplied all the information they need for estimating that value. Otherwise, insiders could take advantage of their uninformed partners and buy out their interests at a fraction of true worth. We have, on rare occasions, seen that happen. Usually, of course, chicanery is employed to drive stock prices up, not down.
We will not repurchase shares unless we believe Berkshire stock is selling well below intrinsic value, conservatively calculated. Nor will we attempt to talk the stock up or down. (Neither publicly or privately have I ever told anyone to buy or sell Berkshire shares.) Instead we will give all shareholders -- and potential shareholders -- the same valuation-related information we would wish to have if our positions were reversed." (Source: 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report)
7. Will the inevitable sale of Berkshire shares (by the charitable foundations) depress the price of the stock?
A few shareholders have expressed concern that sales of Berkshire by the foundations receiving shares will depress the stock. These fears are unwarranted. The annual trading volume of many stocks exceeds 100% of the outstanding shares, but nevertheless these stocks usually sell at prices approximating their intrinsic value. Berkshire also tends to sell at an appropriate price, but with annual volume that is only 15% of shares outstanding. At most, sales by the foundations receiving my shares will add three percentage points to annual trading volume, which will still leave Berkshire with a turnover ratio that is the lowest around. (2006 Annual Report)
"We feel noble intentions should be checked periodically against results. We test the wisdom of retaining earnings by assessing whether retention, over time, delivers shareholders at least $1 of market value for each $1 retained. To date, this test has been met. We will continue to apply it on a five-year rolling basis. As our net worth grows, it is more difficult to use retained earnings wisely." (Source: Berkshire Hathaway's Owner's Manual)