A conversation with 98-year old Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger is never dull.
Munger talked about his reasons for investing in China, how he still hates bitcoin and why windowless dormitories aren’t as bad as people make them out to be in a wide-ranging chat at the annual meeting for Munger’s newspaper publisher Daily Journal (DJCO) in Los Angeles Wednesday,
One of the first questions for Munger was about China. He was asked how he can trust the economic data that comes out of the communist nation, especially since other top investors, such as DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach, have shunned China. Gundlach has called China “uninvestable.”
Daily Journal owns a big stake in China’s Alibaba (BABA). Munger said in Wednesday’s meeting, which was streamed exclusively on Yahoo Finance, that he sees more value in China than in the US stock market and praised the country for being a modern nation.
Later on during the meeting, Munger said former Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping was one of the world’s greatest leaders due to economic changes made during his tenure that opened up the nation to the West, modernized China and helped reduce poverty. (Xiaoping, however, was also the leader during the deadly 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.)
He said he had no regrets about not investing in bitcoin, even though cryptocurrencies are now a nearly $2 trillion market. Munger said he was proud he’s avoided bitcoin and compared it to a “venereal disease.”
Another Daily Journal shareholder asked Munger if he had any insight as to who made the decision at Berkshire Hathaway to invest in Activision Blizzard (ATVI) in the fourth quarter of last year, just weeks before Microsoft (MSFT) announced a nearly $70 billion acquisition of the video game maker.
Munger had no comment but he then praised Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, despite the fact that Kotick has been criticized for a sexual harassment scandal at the company.
He also took a potshot at people who criticized the windowless student dormitories at schools where Munger has donated money.
Munger defended the decision to build housing without windows by saying that there are many rooms on cruise ships that have no windows. He said the architect who complained about the design was an “ignoramus.”
Investors may have another chance to hear Munger’s thoughts in a few months.
Berkshire Hathaway is planning to have its annual shareholder meeting at the end of April in Omaha and Munger expressed optimism that he and others will be able to attend it live, despite lingering concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid-19.