5 things learned at Berkshire’s Annual Meeting

May 5, 2012, 10:21 PM UTC

Warren Buffett

Omaha (FORTUNE) — At Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKA) annual meeting on Saturday, Warren Buffett fielded questions from shareholders, journalists and analysts. The questioning started at 9:30 and is expected to last until 3:30. In all he said he would take a total of 54 questions. At mid-day, the questions have ranged from simple ones about his health (“I feel terrific.”) to more technical ones about how to value the cash generated by Berkshire’s insurance businesses. Here’s a run down of the things we have learned so far:

1) Buffett says he may turn into a newspaper baron. Last year he bought the Omaha World-Herald, and says the acquisition has worked out well. He is thinking of buying more. Buffett says newspapers can be a good business as long as you don’t give them away.

2) Berkshire won’t pay a dividend. Buffett says it’s not in the best interest of shareholders.

3) Buffett says U.S. banks are in far better shape than they were a few years ago. He thinks European banks are still in trouble.

4) Buffett thinks Amazon has been an incredible success and will affect a lot of businesses. Charlie Munger, Buffett’s long-time partner, says Amazon could be terrible for a lot of retailers, and not a little terrible, “hugely” terrible.

5) Buffett, like everyone when they go to a store, has a budget. It’s just that Buffett’s budget is $20 billion. Buffett says he recently considered and then passed on a $22 billion acquisition because he didn’t have the cash on hand. I will pass as well.

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