Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A), has had one conversation with Wells Fargo (WFC) boss John Stumpf since a sales scandal erupted on Sept. 8, knocking billions of dollars in market cap off the company, Buffett’s office confirmed on Thursday.
Berkshire Hathaway is Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder, owning 9.51% of the outstanding shares as of the latest available filings.
Stumpf told the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday that he and Buffett had one conversation since the scandal broke, but would not elaborate.
“What Mr. Stumpf said in the House hearings today regarding a conversation with Warren Buffett is correct,” Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, said in an email to Reuters.
On Thursday, Doug Kass, a hedge fund manager and regular stock market commentator for TheStreet’s Real Money, reported that Buffett had “spoken to the Wells Fargo board directly and has expressed his extreme dissatisfaction and the need for a radical transformation of the bank’s ethics, in no uncertain terms.” Kass cited no source for the information. Kass was once a guess questioner at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, but there is no indication since then that the two have close ties. Kass disclosed that he has a small “short” position—meaning he is betting against—Berkshire Hathaway’s shares.
But Buffett shot the idea that he had expressed any dissatisfaction to Wells Fargo’s board, in an interview with CNBC. A spokesperson for Buffett told CNBC that Kass’ note can be reported to be false.