Berkshire opposes dividend proposal; Buffett, Gates get pay rises
(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc has urged shareholders to vote against a proposal that it consider spending some of its $48.2 billion of cash on a "meaningful" dividend.
According to a Berkshire proxy filing on Friday, David Witt, a Cincinnati resident who owns nearly $8,600 of Berkshire stock, will propose the payout at the company's May 3 annual meeting.
Berkshire has not paid a cash dividend since 1967.
"Whereas the corporation has more money than it needs and since the owners unlike Warren are not multi-billionaires, the board shall consider paying a meaningful annual dividend on the shares," Witt's proposal said, referring as Buffett does to shareholders as owners.
Buffett was not immediately available for comment.
His $58.2 billion net worth makes him the world's fourth-richest person, Forbes magazine said this month.
In opposing Witt's proposal, Berkshire's board said it already considers annually whether the Omaha, Nebraska-based company should retain all earnings.
Buffett, 83, has long maintained that he can generate better returns through acquisitions such as the BNSF railroad and investments such as Wells Fargo & Co.
He told shareholders in 2011 that Berkshire's share price ought to fall if the company decided to pay a dividend. Buffett also wants to keep a $20 billion cash cushion. Continued...