Monday, September 22, 2008

When to Sell Berkshire Hathaway

I own some Berkshire Hathaway B shares. I have mentioned my reasons for buying Berkshire in a previous article. So now that I am sitting on a nice profit ( unlike most of my other buys from that time) should I sell now?

I feel that any stock should be sold if
  1. It is overvalued.
  2. There is better alternative.
To address point 1 we need to check if Berkshire is overvalued. To do so you may now use the IntrinsiValuator. It is a nice tool created by some nice guy to help us value Berkshire according to hints that Warren Buffett himself has given.
According to the site if you select "Conservative" in the Assumption field the "Intrinsic Value" for the B shares is 4829 USD. This is above todays (19 sep 08) price of 4595 USD. So we still have some way to go before I feel I should sell. I would sell when it is well above intrinsic value and maybe closer to the Optimistic scenario price of 6500 USD.

As for point 2, Are there equivalent or similar businesses that are available cheaper? To answer that I need to research Leucadia National Corp and Markel Corp. Both these companies are similar to Berkshire. They have insurance operations and use the premiums they receive to invest in diverse businesses. All these companies have well regarded managements and are followed by value investors.

Thats all for now...