Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting, dubbed by its chairman Warren Buffett as “Woodstock for Capitalists,” is the largest business gathering in the country. Every May, the event attracts more than 40,000 money managers, industry professionals and mom-and-pop investors from all over the world to Omaha, Neb. to hear Buffett and his longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, discuss markets and economy.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Berkshire meeting will be moved online for the first time. The event live streamed by Yahoo Finance on Saturday starting 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You can tune in as early as Friday afternoon for pre-show programs including commentary, analyses and remote interviews with yet-to-be-announced special guests, per Yahoo.
Up until two months ago, Buffett was insisting on hosting the event live, despite countries and airlines beginning to tighten travel restrictions in response to COVID-19. He changed his mind two weeks later after the situation became too dire to organize such a large gathering.
“I very much regret this action. For many decades the annual meeting has been a high point of the year for me and my partner, Charlie Munger,” Buffett said in a letter to shareholders in March, adding that the virtual conference will limit attendance to himself, possibly Munger and several Berkshire employees who will deliver proxy votes.
“This year’s live stream is more important than ever, as our shareholders can tune in to join us in Omaha from the safety of their homes,” Berkshire Hathaway’s Chief Financial Officer Marc Hamburg said in a press release this week.
Sadly, the conference agenda this year will scrap many of past years’ staple activities, such as a picnic, a five-kilometer fun run and dinner at Buffett’s favorite local steakhouse. Instead, investors will focus on what Buffett has to say about COVID-19’s impact on Berkshire’s portfolio and markets broadly. The 89-year-old investing guru has been relatively quiet on the subject since the outbreak other than briefly commenting COVID-19 and the oil price crash “a big one-two punch” in an early March interview.