Lessons From Warren Buffett: You Can Overpay Even if It’s an Outstanding Company

Are some companies so outstanding that it is worth paying any price for them? It is a question that is worth asking when stock prices reach truly stratospheric heights.

Back in 1997, in his Chairman’s Letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders, Warren Buffett singled out Coca-Cola and Gillette as companies that he labeled as “The Inevitables.” Buffett was referring to companies that “will dominate their fields worldwide for an investment lifetime.” However, at that year’s annual meeting, in response to a shareholder’s question, he did clarify that even a company that is an “Inevitable” can be priced too high to be a good investment.

“But you can pay too much, at least in the short run, for businesses like that,” Warren Buffett said at the 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. “So, I thought it was only appropriate to point out that no matter how wonderful a business it is, that there always is a risk that you will pay a price where it will take a few years for the business to catch up with the stock. That the stock can get ahead of the business.”

Buffett’s full explanation on paying too much

See the complete Lessons From Warren Buffett series

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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