Warren Buffett won’t be bailing out European banks any time soon, nor does he foresee an early solution to the European debt crisis. In fact, according to the “Oracle of Omaha,” Europe is in the midst of a partial run.
Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday, Buffett spoke about a lot of issues, including whether Berkshire Hathaway will be investing in European banks as it did in Bank of America. Despite the fact that he feels better about the new leadership in Greece and Italy, Buffett said Berkshire had “sold everything” it had of European debt more than a year ago, and that while getting back into European banks is “something I look at every day,” he is by no means comfortable enough to do so yet.
Just not rolling over debt, he said, was enough to start a run, and Europe is in the midst of a partial run. The decisive action necessary to stop a run, he added, was probably not going to be found among the 17 eurozone leaders. While 10 years from now he believes Europe will be stronger, “getting from here to there may be a problem.”
Asked if he would be a buyer of European banks if they could raise additional capital, Buffett replied, “I’d look. But … whether I’d be a buyer, I’d have to understand the banks better than I understand them … we do not own stock in any banks that are members of the eurozone.”
While he admitted that he was looking at European banks—”Anytime something goes down a lot, I look”—he added that nothing was sufficiently attractive to entice him to invest. “Not enough to write a check,” he explained. “That’s the test.”