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    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    Q: What's your philosophy in buying businesses?

    当你投资商业时你的逻辑是什么?

    The first question I ask is: “Does the owner love the business or does he/she love the money?” It’s very easy to tell the difference.

    I am proud to be able to provide a good home for many businesses. It is like finding a home for a painting. Business owners who are looking to sell can either sell their businesses to Berkshire (like putting painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) or sell to an LBO and let them tear it up, dress up the accounting, and resell it (like selling a painting to a porn shop).

    我首先要问自己的问题是:“这家公司的老板真的爱他/她的公司吗?或者说,他/她爱财吗?”这一点我想还是很容易看出来吧。

    我对可以为很多企业提供一个舒适的家这一点感到非常骄傲。对我来说,这就像给画作寻找合适的主人一样。那些想要卖掉公司的创始人们可以把公司卖给波克夏(好比把画作卖给大都会艺术博物馆),也大可以把公司卖给LBO,任由他们把公司分拆,粉饰财务一番再转手(这就好比把画作卖给色情商店了)。

    Source: Buffett Vanderbilt Notes

    Time: Jan 2005

    来源:Buffett Vanderbilt笔记

    时间:2005年1月

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    It's a question of being able to identify businesses that you understand and you are very certain about. If you understand those businesses, and many people do, but Charlie and I don't, then you have the opportunity to evaluate them. If you decide they're fairly priced and they have marvellous prospects, you're going to do very well.

    这个问题在于你是否拥有能够找出你自己十分了解的公司。如果你找到很多人都很了解,恰好你也很了解,但是查理(指查理芒格)和我不懂的公司,赶紧抓住机会去估值。如果你发现这个公司价格还行并且前景无限,你一定能干出一番事业。

    But there's a whole group of companies--a very large group of companies--that Charlie and I just don't know how to value. And that doesn't bother us. I mean, we don't know how to figure out what cocoa beans are going to do, or the Russian ruble--there's all kinds of financial instruments that we just don't feel we have the knowledge to evaluate. It might be a bit too much to expect somebody would understand every business in the world. We find some that are much harder for us to understand. When I say understand--my definition of understand is that you have to have a pretty good idea of where it's going to be in ten years.

    世界上依旧有很多很多很多公司是查理和我搞不清怎样估值的。但是我们一点都不担心。我的意思是,我们并不知道怎么去弄懂可可豆或者俄罗斯卢布到底是干嘛的——我是说世界上有那么多金融工具我们不可能全都掌握。要求一个人能弄明白世界上所有公司未免也有点太强求了吧。当我说“弄明白”的时候,我的意思是你对这一行未来十年将要发生什么了如指掌。

    I just can't get that conviction with a lot of businesses, whereas I can get them with relatively few. But I only need a few--six or eight, or something like that.

    我对于很多行业都抓不住其中的精髓,也就其中几个吧我还理解的差不多。但是我也只需要这么多了——六个或者八个吧,也就差不多这个数了。

    I don't think you'll find better managers than Andy Grove at Intel or Bill Gates at Microsoft and they certainly seem to have fantastic positions in the businesses they're in, but I don't know enough about those businesses to be sure that those businesses are fantastic as I am about being sure that Gillette and Coca-Cola's businesses are fantastic. You may understand those businesses better than you understand Coke and Gillette because of your background or just the way your mind is wired. But I don't, and therefore I have to stick with what I really think I can understand.

    我认为再也找不到比英特尔的Andy Grove和微软的比尔盖茨更好的经理了,这些公司都在相应的行业里处于非常优越的位置,我知道他们是好公司,但是并不像我知道吉列公司和可口可乐是好公司那样,因为我不知道他们为什么是好公司。由于你的背景和你的思考方式,可能你对这些公司的理解要比对可口可乐和吉列公司要深刻。但是我不一样,我不懂,所以我还是坚持只看我能完全弄明白的公司。

    Source: BRK Annual Meeting

    Time: May 1997

    来源:BRK年会

    时间:1997年四月

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    We favor businesses where we really think we know the answer. If we think the business’s competitive position is shaky, we won’t try to compensate with price. We want to buy a great business, defined as having a high return on capital for a long period of time, where we think management will treat us right. We like to buy at 40 cents on the dollar, but will pay a lot closer to $1 on the dollar for a great business.

    我们倾向于投资我们知道答案的公司。如果我们认为公司的竞争地位很不稳定,那么我们肯定就不会尝试去补价了。我们想投资好公司,就是在长期内有高现金回报,管理层也会善待我们的公司。原则上我们是40美分买1美元,但是对于真正的好公司我们愿意以无限接近1美元的价格去买入。

    If we see someone who weighs 300 pounds or 320 pounds, it doesn’t matter–we know they’re fat. We look for fat businesses.

    不管是300磅还是320磅重的人,都没关系,反正我们知道是胖子就对了。没错,我们要找的就是一眼看上去回报就很肥厚的公司。

    We don’t get paid for the past, only the future [profitability of a business]. The past is only useful to give you insights into the future, but sometimes there’s no insight. At times, we’ve been able to buy businesses at one quarter of what they’re worth, but we haven’t seen that recently except South Korea.

    我们不会从过去取得回报,只有未来才能给我们回报(指公司盈利能力)。过去只为我们预测未来时提供一点见解,不过有的时候可能都给不了哪怕一点见解。时不时地,我们会以四分之一的价格买入一个公司,但是最近这种公司不好找了,除了韩国。

    Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2007 Tilson Notes

    Time: 2007

    来源:BRK2007年会Tilson笔记

    时间:2007

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    Q: What is the ideal business?

    完美的公司长什么样?

    The ideal business is one that generates very high returns on capital and can invest that capital back into the business at equally high rates. Imagine a $100 million business that earns 20% in one year, reinvests the $20 million profit and in the next year earns 20% of $120 million and so forth. But there are very very few businesses like this. Coke has high returns on capital, but incremental capital doesn't earn anything like its current returns. We love businesses that can earn high rates on even more capital than it earns. Most of our businesses generate lots of money, but can't generate high returns on incremental capital -- for example, See's and Buffalo News. We look for them [areas to wisely reinvest capital], but they don't exist.

    完美的公司呢就是能产生高现金回报,而且同时还能把产生的现金回报再投资到同样能产生高回报公司的公司。我们设想一下,一个值一个亿的公司每年能挣20%,然后把这挣的2千万再投资,那么下一年就挣一亿两千万的20%,长此以往下去...不过这样的公司少之又少。可口可乐现金回报很高,但是增量资本可跟当前的回报不一样。我们比较喜欢那种回报率比盈利还高的公司。我们手下绝大多数公司都挺能挣钱的,但是不能在增量资本上产生高回报——举个例子,See’s和布法罗新闻。我们在找这样的(领域去理智的再投资),但是找不到。

    So, what we do is take money and move it around into other businesses. The newspaper business earned great returns but not on incremental capital. But the people in the industry only knew how to reinvest it [so they squandered a lot of capital]. But our structure allows us to take excess capital and invest it elsewhere, wherever it makes the most sense. It's an enormous advantage.

    于是,我们就只好拿着钱转向别的公司了。报纸产业回报是很高但都不是增量资本。然而那个产业中的人只知道再投资一个公司(所以很多钱都打了水漂)。但是我们的体系允许我们拿着多余的资金去投资别的公司,别的挣得更多的公司。这是一个巨大的优势。

    See's has produced $1 billion pre-tax for us over time. If we'd deployed that in the candy business, the returns would have been terrible, but instead we took the money out of the business and redeployed it elsewhere. Look at the results!

    See's一共为我们带来了税前10亿美金的收益。如果我们把这个钱仍旧拿来投资糖果公司(See's是美国一家巧克力公司),那回报肯定糟透了,但是我们把钱拿出来去投别的产业了。看看我这回报!

    [CM: There are two kinds of businesses: The first earns 12%, and you can take it out at the end of the year. The second earns 12%, but all the excess cash must be reinvested -- there's never any cash. It reminds me of the guy who looks at all of his equipment and says, "There's all of my profit." We hate that kind of business.]

    (查理芒格:有两种企业:第一种每年挣12%,然后年末你可以把这笔钱拿走。第二种也挣12%,但是所有超额现金必须拿来再投资——这样就不会再产生现金了。这让我不禁脑补一个人看着他所有的设备说,“看看,这是我所有的利润”。我们恨死这种企业了。)

    We like to be able to move cash around and find it's best use. We'd love to have our companies redeploy cash, but they can't. Gillette has a great business, but can't sensibly reinvest all of the profit.

    我们还说喜欢把资金抽出来用在最应该用的地方。我们也想让公司自行重新调配资金,但是他们不行啊。吉列公司已经很好了,但是也不能精准的将他们所有利润再投资。

    We don't think the batting average of American industry redeploying capital has been very great. We knock other people doing what has made us so successful.

    我们认为美国公司重新调配资金的命中率并不是特别高,所以希望那些效仿我们的人慎重行事。

    Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2003 Tilson Notes

    Time: 2003

    来源:BRK2003年会Tilson笔记

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    Q: What makes a great business?

    哪些因素才能打造一个成功的公司?

    The best businesses can maintain their earnings without continued reinvestment, whereas in the worst you have to keep pouring money into a money-losing business.

    好企业不需要不断再投资就能持续产生利润,相反,烂公司你得一直扔钱。

    The best business is being the best surgeon in town. You don’t have to do any reinvestment – the investment was the education. The surgeon will retain his earnings power, regardless of inflation.

    好公司就好比城里最好的外科医生。你根本不用做任何的再投资——第一次的投资就是他接受的教育。不管通胀如何,这个医生是会维持自己的盈利能力的。

    We like buying businesses with some untapped pricing power. For example, when we bought See’s for $25 million, I asked myself, “If we raised prices by 10 cents per pound, would sales fall off a cliff?” The answer was obviously no. You can determine the strength of a business over time by the amount of agony they go through in raising prices.

    我们喜欢买拥有未被开发的定价能力的企业。比如说,当我们花了250万买下See's的时候我问自己,“要是我们的价格每磅提高10美分,营业额会惨跌吗?”答案明显是不。随着时间的流逝,我们可以根据提价时公司所经历的痛苦程度来判断这个公司的长处。

    A good example is newspapers. The local daily paper controlled the market and every year they raised the [advertising] rates and circulation prices–it was almost a big yawn. They didn’t worry about losing big advertisers like Sears, JC Penney or Wal-Mart, or losing subscribers. They increased prices whether the price of newsprint went up or down.

    有一个好例子就是报纸业。本地的报纸控制着市场,每年都会提高广告价格和分销价格——这差不多是狮子大开口了。他们根本不在乎流失大广告商例如西尔斯百货,彭尼百货或者沃尔玛,也不怕流失订阅者。不管新闻印刷市场上行还是下降他们都义无反顾的提价。

    Now, they agonize over price increases because they worry about driving people to other mediums. That world has changed.

    现在不一样了,每提一次价他们都痛苦万分百般考量,因为他们害怕人们转向其他的信息媒介。世界变了。

    You can learn a lot about the durable economics of a business by watching price behavior. The beer industry is able to raise prices, but it’ s getting tougher.

    你可以通过价格表现来了解一个行业经济的持久状况。啤酒业现在还有提价能力,但是也愈发困难了。

    Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2005 Tilson Notes

    Time: 2005

    来源:BRK2005年会Tilson笔记

    时间:2005

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    Q: When you are looking at a business in which to invest, what are your priorities?

    当你研究一个公司是否值得投资时,你首先考虑的还是什么?

    You have to really understand the economics of a business and the kind of people you are getting into business with. They have to love their business. They have to feel that they have been creative, that it is their painting, I am not going to disturb it, just give them more canvas and more brushes, but its their painting, from our standpoint any way. The whole place will reflect the attitude of the person at the top, if you have someone at the top who doesn’t care, the people down below won’t care. On the other hand, if you have someone at the top who cares a great deal, that will be evident across the organization. [The type of people managing the business is a very important criteria, then?] Yes, contracts don’t protect you; you have to have confidence in the people.

    你得真正了解公司所处行业的经济状况并且知道你在和谁打交道。他们必须热爱自己这一行。他们得有创造力,就好像进行艺术创作一样,我肯定不会去指手画脚,就给他们画布和画笔就好了。这是他们自己的作品,只不过是从我们的角度去观赏罢了。公司的位置会反映出上面的人的态度,如果上面的人都不在乎,下面的更不会在乎了。另外一方面,如果上面的人事事亲力亲为,整个系统自然都会知道的。(管理层非常重要。)没错,合同可不是你的保护伞;你得对管理层有信心。

    Source: University of Nebraska Business Magazine

    URL: BuffettNebraskaBusiness.pdf

    Time: 2001

    来源:内布拉斯加大学商业杂志

    相关数据:BuffettNebraskaBusiness.pdf

    时间:2001

    巴菲特眼中的商业:How to Think About Businesses(上)

    We want a business that we think, if run well, is going to have a competitive advantage. We don't buy hula hoop or pet rock companies, or companies with explosions in demand but we don't know who the winners will be.

    我们想要那种,如果运行得当的话,会很有竞争力的公司。我们不会去买呼啦圈或者宠物石头公司,或者那种需求特别大但是我们不确定谁是赢家的公司。

    Source: BRK Annual Meeting 2003 Tilson Notes

    Time: 2003

    来源:BRK2003年会Tilson笔记

    时间:2003

     

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