See Warren Buffett singing Coke’s song
Warren Buffett is smiling about Coke again, and singing about it.
The billionaire investor made a special guest appearance at Coca-Cola’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. Buffett was introduced with a video of him singing, ukulele in hand, “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing” from Coke’s classic hilltop commercials.
At the meeting, Buffett, whose insurance and investing conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) is Coke’s largest shareholder, said that he still believes in the soda company, which has struggled lately. Buffett, who shared the stage with Coke CEO Muhtar Kent, said Coke (KO) will do just fine as long as it keeps prices reasonable. He said Coke will be able to adapt to consumer tastes.
“Of course, I could buy the world a Coke, but I don’t think our shareholders would go for that,” Buffett said amid laughter, talking about Berkshire.
Coke had been the source of some indigestion for Buffett last year. Last year, the billionaire investor came under pressure to object to Kent’s pay package, which another major Coke investor, David Winters, said was too high. Buffett has been a vocal critic of runaway executive pay in the past. Buffett’s own salary at Berkshire is $100,000 a year. Buffett also called Kent’s pay package “excessive,” but decided not to vote against it.
Coke later reduced the number of shares that went to its top executives. This year, Kent declined a $2.5 million bonus, calling the past year at Coke “challenging.” He still saw his overall compensation rise 20% to just over $25 million for 2014. Cokes shares have fallen nearly 3.5% in the past year.
Berkshire annual shareholder meeting, which is likely to draw 50,000 visitors to Omaha, Nebraska, will be held this weekend.