(Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett’s annual meeting for shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. will be webcast for the first time in his half-century running the company.
The live stream of the gathering in Omaha, Nebraska, will appear on the finance page of Yahoo! Inc. on Saturday, April 30, the Sunnyvale, California-based technology company said Tuesday in a statement distributed by Business Wire.
The arrangement “provides us with the opportunity to reach more people than ever, in key financial centers,” Buffett said in the statement. “Yahoo Finance is a great platform to bring the energy and excitement of what happens in Omaha to an informed audience around the world.”
Buffett, the world’s third-richest man, has long opted against broadcasting the gatherings or even permitting recordings. That made the sessions must-attend events for investors and financial journalists, who paid jacked-up airfares and hotel rates to listen to Buffett, 85, and Vice Chairman Charles Munger, 92.
The meetings now draw tens of thousands of people to an arena in Omaha, compared with groups of fewer than 100 in the early 1970s, when shareholders met in the cafeteria of the National Indemnity insurance subsidiary. The events feature a question-and-answer session that lasts for about five hours. Shareholders, journalists and Wall Street analysts ask for Buffett’s thoughts on investing, the economy and corporate governance.
“Neither Charlie nor I will get so much as a clue about the questions headed our way,” Buffett wrote in his most recent annual report. “Some will be tough, for sure, and that’s the way we like it.” The planning for a possible webcast was reported in January by the Wall Street Journal.
Traveling to Omaha still offers access that’s unavailable on a smartphone. The meetings have featured exhibitions from subsidiaries like the Fruit of the Loom apparel company and railroad BNSF. Souvenirs have ranged from boxer shorts to rubber “fiesta ducks” that were meant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and resembled Buffett and Munger sporting sombreros.
Other events at the annual-meeting weekends include a 5 kilometer run, a newspaper-tossing contest and a shareholders’ event at Gorat’s steak house, one of Buffett’s favorite restaurants.
– With assistance from Lily Katz and Dan Reichl.