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投资理财

: 为何马斯克和巴菲特突然为糖果公司打起嘴仗

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Jen Wieczner 2018年05月23日

巴菲特向来认为护城河相当重要,也是他选股时的主要参考因素,但马斯克在特斯拉业绩发布会上鄙视了这个概念。

5月初,在伯克希尔-哈撒韦公司年会上,首席执行官沃伦·巴菲特向特斯拉的埃隆·马斯克提了建议:别惹时思糖果。

估计巴菲特没想到,同为亿万富翁的马斯克会将他的话当成激将之言。

巴菲特旗下的伯克希尔-哈撒韦持有时思糖果,这次有股东问他对马斯克谈所谓经济“护城河”的看法,其实这个说法是1999年巴菲特在《财富》一篇文章里用到的,指某家公司的竞争优势。

巴菲特向来认为护城河相当重要,也是他选股时的主要参考因素,但马斯克在特斯拉业绩发布会上鄙视了这个概念。

“我觉得护城河很差劲,”在特斯拉一季度业绩发布会上,马斯克对分析师说。“看看古迹可能还行,但现在如果抵御敌人进攻的唯一手段就是护城河,根本坚持不了多久。重要的是创新的速度。这才是竞争力的根本决定因素。”

得知马斯克的评论后,巴菲特承认近年来技术进步加快,护城河越发难以“抵御进攻”。但他仍然相信此概念极为重要,有些公司的护城河现在比以前更加难攻破。

“公司当然应该努力修筑护城河,时刻注意保持护城河安全。埃隆可能把某些领域的情况说反了,”巴菲特在奥马哈的伯克希尔大会上表示。“我觉得在糖果行业他就不能这么说。”

巴菲特经常说,时思糖果就是家护城河很宽的公司,因为客户非常忠诚稳定,尤其在美国西岸,其他巧克力连锁店对手很难抢生意。

1972年伯克希尔-哈撒韦收购了时思糖果,巴菲特本人就很喜欢时思的花生薄片糖,每年开股东大会他跟合伙人查理·芒格回答问题的六个小时里经常嘴里吃着。巴菲特补充说,伯克希尔-哈撒韦投资的其他一些公司护城河也挺宽,能抵御科技创新公司造成的威胁,比如童装品牌系列Garanimals。

芒格也不同意马斯克对护城河的看法。“埃隆说传统护城河很古怪,弄些水坑抵抗敌人确实挺傻。他又说最好的护城河就是保持巨大的竞争优势,说得更是没错,”芒格表示。“真可笑。沃伦说的又不是真去修护城河。古不古怪有什么关系。”

马斯克没有出席伯克希尔-哈撒韦的大会,不过听到了一些关于巴菲特和芒格的评论,显然觉得自己被怼了。他发了些推文回应伯克希尔-哈撒韦两位大佬,首先发了一条YouTube上电影《魔发精灵》音乐片段。

随后马斯克在推特上宣布,“我要成立一家糖果公司,会很棒。”

我非常非常认真。

——埃隆·马斯克

加密糖果

——埃隆·马斯克

虽然马斯克坚持说自己“非常非常认真”,但从推文口气来看还是有些玩笑意味,因为他还说“威利·旺卡(小说《查理和巧克力工厂》里,神秘巧克力工厂的主人——译注)的梗弄砸了”。马斯克接着发文说,“好吧好吧,来讨论下,你们想要什么样的糖果?”之后他发了条只有一个单词的推文:“加密糖果”。

巴菲特和芒格东都不喜欢加密货币,在大会上,巴菲特还预测说加密货币“结局不会好。”

后来,马斯克晚上发了条推文直接提到巴菲特,说他“要修一条真的护城河,里面填满糖果”,好吸引伯克希尔-哈撒韦来投资糖果工厂。

我要修一条真的护城河,里面填满糖果。沃伦·巴菲特肯定忍不住要投资!这简直是伯克希尔-哈撒韦的死穴(原文为氪石,漫画《超人》中假象的矿物,会导致超人失去超能力——译注)……

——埃隆·马斯克

至于两位大佬什么时候会再回复马斯克,有可能他们都不知道马斯克发了推文。巴菲特在推特上有个账户,但一共只发了九条推文,上一次还是两年前,2016年伯克希尔-哈撒韦开股东大会的时候。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

?

During the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in early May, CEO Warren Buffett offered some advice to Tesla’s Elon Musk: Stay away from See’s Candies.

What the renowned investor probably didn’t anticipate was that Musk, a fellow multi-billionaire, would interpret his message as a dare.

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway owns See’s Candies, was responding to a shareholder’s question about whether he agreed with Musk’s views about so-called economic “moats,” a term Buffett coined in a 1999 Fortune article referring to a company’s wide competitive advantages.

While Buffett has long extolled the benefits of moats—which are a key component of his stock-picking process—Musk spurned the concept entirely during a Tesla earnings call this week.

“I think moats are lame,” Musk told analysts on Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call . “They are like nice in a sort of quaint, vestigial way. If your only defense against invading armies is a moat, you will not last long. What matters is the pace of innovation, that is the fundamental determinant of competitiveness.”

Presented with Musk’s comment, Buffett acknowledged that the acceleration of technological advancement in recent years has made more moats vulnerable and “susceptible to invasion.” But he still believes the concept is crucially important, and that some companies’ moats are more impenetrable now than they’ve ever been.

“Certainly you should be working on improving your own moat and defending your own moat all the time. And Elon may turn things upside down in some areas,” Buffett said during the Berkshire meeting in Omaha. “I don’t think he’d want to take us on in candy.”

Buffett often cites See’s Candies as a company with a wide moat, because of the company’s loyal, entrenched customer base, particularly on the West Coast—making it difficult for any rival chocolate chains to steal any business from See’s.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired See’s Candies in 1972, and Buffett is famously fond of its peanut brittle— which he and his business partner Charlie Munger continuously munch on while answering questions for six hours at their shareholder meeting each year. Some of Berkshire Hathaway’s other businesses also have moats wide enough to stave off competition from an innovative tech upstart, such as Garanimals, a line of children’s clothing it owns, Buffett added.

Munger also scoffed at Musk’s perspective on moats. “Elon says a conventional moat is quaint, and that’s true of a puddle of water. And he says that the best moat would be to have a big competitive position, and that is also right,” Munger said. “It’s ridiculous. Warren does not intend to build an actual moat. Even though they’re quaint.”

Musk, who did not attend the Berkshire Hathaway meeting, caught wind of Buffett and Munger’s comments, and apparently felt he was being trolled. Responding to the Berkshire Hathaway executives in a series of tweets, Musk first posted a musical YouTube clip from the movie Trolls.

Then Musk announced on Twitter, “I’m starting a candy company and it’s going to be amazing.”

I am super super serious

— Elon Musk?

Cryptocandy

— Elon Musk?

Although the Tesla CEO insisted he was “super super serious,” the tone of his Twitter thread — in which he also noted that “the plot of Willy Wonka is really messed up” — suggested otherwise. Still, Musk added, “Ok ok, just for sake of argument, what do you wish for in candy?” He followed that up with a single-word tweet: “Cryptocandy.”

Both Buffett and Munger loathe cryptocurrencies, which the Berkshire CEO? predicted “will come to bad endings.”

Later in the evening, Musk referenced Buffett directly, tweeting that he was “going to build a moat and fill it with candy” in order to lure Berkshire Hathaway into investing in his confectionery venture.

Then I’m going to build a moat & fill it w candy. Warren B will not be able to resist investing! Berkshire Hathaway kryptonite …

— Elon Musk?

As for whether the investing duo will respond to Musk, it’s unlikely they even took notice of his tweets: While Buffett has a Twitter account, he has tweeted exactly nine times, and not since the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway meeting two years ago.

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