Buffett to webcast Berkshire annual meeting on Yahoo

Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:06pm EST
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote) plans to webcast its annual meeting for the first time, allowing the largest U.S. shareholder gathering to reach a global audience through Yahoo Inc's (YHOO.O: Quote) finance page.

Viewers will be able to watch Buffett, Berkshire's 85-year-old chief executive officer, and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 92, field five hours of questions on April 30 from shareholders, reporters and analysts about the Omaha, Nebraska-based company, investing, the economy and life.

The webcast offers a chance "to reach more people than ever, in key financial centers" and "to bring the energy and excitement of what happens in Omaha to an informed audience around the world," Buffett, known as the "oracle of Omaha," said in a statement on Tuesday.

The webcast may help Yahoo attract advertisers enticed by millions of potential online viewers. Yahoo's core Internet business has struggled, and CEO Marissa Mayer has signaled she might put the business up for sale.

Andy Serwer, Yahoo Finance's editor in chief, told CNBC that Yahoo could sell ads for the live stream, and said Buffett had called him in December to ask if a webcast was possible.

"He said, 'I just want to make it bigger,'" Serwer said. "There's a lot of demand, particularly in places like China."

Yahoo shares closed up $2.24, or 8.3 percent, at $29.28.

Berkshire owns nearly 90 businesses, among which are BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen ice cream, Fruit of the Loom underwear, Geico car insurance and See's candies. Most are in the United States, and the webcast could help Buffett market Berkshire to sellers of businesses elsewhere.   Continued...

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett enjoys a Dairy Queen ice cream bar prior to the Berkshire annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska in this May 2, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files