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Warren Buffett bars shareholders from Berkshire’s meeting over virus

‘I very much regret this action,” Buffett said in the statement.’
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking

Warren Buffett won’t allow shareholders to attend Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in May amid growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

The meeting, which generally draws thousands to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, will still be held, but attendance will be limited to Buffett, possibly his business partner Charlie Munger and several Berkshire employees who will deliver proxy votes, Berkshire said Friday in a statement. The meeting will be streamed by Yahoo.

“I very much regret this action,” Buffett said in the statement. “For many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger.”

Berkshire’s annual meeting floods the city with shareholders and employees who spend hours on a Saturday listening to Buffett and Munger speak on a range of topics. The company had warned earlier in March that while the meeting, scheduled for May 2, would still happen, the scope of the event could change.

“It is now clear, however, that large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community,” Buffett said. “We won’t ask this of our employees and we won’t expose Omaha to the possibility of becoming a ‘hot spot’ in the current pandemic.”

Read an update about the spread of the coronavirus

© 2020 Bloomberg

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