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Sunday 25 February, 2024
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Charlie Munger Dead at 99, Cause of Death

BY Anas Shah Nov 29, 2023. 02:14 am

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At the age of 99, billionaire Charlie Munger, the astute investor who amassed wealth prior to becoming Warren Buffett’s right-hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, passed suddenly.

According to a Berkshire Hathaway news release, Munger passed away on Tuesday. The group said that family members informed them that Munger passed away quietly this morning at a hospital in California.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.

Munger was not only the vice chairman of Berkshire, but also a real estate lawyer, the chairman and publisher of the Daily Journal Corp., a member of the board of Costco, an architect, and a philanthropist.

His projected fortune in the beginning of 2023 was $2.3 billion, which many found astounding but far less than Buffett’s unbelievable fortune, which is estimated to be worth over $100 billion.

The 97-year-old Munger reportedly unintentionally disclosed a closely-kept secret during Berkshire’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting: Vice Chairman Greg Abel “will keep the culture” following the Buffett era.

Munger had lost his left eye due to complications following cataract surgery in 1980. He wore heavy spectacles.

From 1984 until 2011, when Buffett’s Berkshire acquired the last shares of the Pasadena, California-based insurance and investment company it did not own, Munger served as chairman and CEO of Wesco Financial.

Buffett said that Munger changed his focus from buying distressed companies at low prices in the hopes of making a profit to buying higher-quality yet inexpensive enterprises.

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Buffett said that Munger changed his focus from buying distressed companies at low prices in the hopes of making a profit to buying higher-quality yet inexpensive enterprises.

Munger’s ability to convince Buffett to approve Berkshire’s $25 million acquisition of See’s Candies in 1972, despite the California candy maker’s meager $4 million in pretax revenues, served as an early example of the shift. Since then, Berkshire has generated sales of almost $2 billion.

“He weaned me away from the idea of buying very so-so companies at very cheap prices, knowing that there was some small profit in it, and looking for some really wonderful businesses that we could buy in fair prices,” Buffett told CNBC in May 2016.

Alternatively, Munger stated, “It’s not that much fun to buy a business where you really hope this sucker liquidates before it goes broke,” during the 1998 Berkshire shareholder meeting.

When Buffett made lighthearted remarks, Munger was frequently the voice of reason. He would reply, “I have nothing to add,” following one of Buffett’s rambling answers to inquiries at the Berkshire annual meetings in Omaha, Nebraska. Nonetheless, Munger was a wealth of knowledge in both life and finance, much like his friend and coworker. And Munger’s wisdom was full of humor, just like that of Benjamin Franklin, one of his heroes.

“I have a friend who says the first rule of fishing is to fish where the fish are. The second rule of fishing is to never forget the first rule. We’ve gotten good at fishing where the fish are,” the then-93-year-old Munger told the thousands of people at Berkshire’s 2017 meeting.

He believed in what he called the “lollapalooza effect,” in which a confluence of factors merged to drive investment psychology.

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