Thursday, April 24, 2008


Here is a brand new NY Times article from Roger Lowenstein (author of Warren Buffet - great book, and the better known book When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management), at Yahoo you don't need a login:

Triple-A Failure

From 2002 to 2006, Moody’s profits nearly tripled, mostly thanks to the high margins the agencies charged in structured finance. In 2006, Moody’s reported net income of $750 million.
BTW, Warren Buffett is a major shareholder of Moody's. In march there was a CNBC interview where he said this:
Well, it wasn't a mistake at the price we bought it. But in terms of the--the intrinsic business value of Moody's decreased last year. I mean, Wells Fargo stock was down last year. I don't think the intrinsic business value shrunk. In fact, I said I thought it probably increased a touch. And there's a lot of companies whose stock went down where the intrinsic business value did not go down, or maybe went up. But I--our holding a Moody's, which is a significant holding, they're--I don't think there's any question that the intrinsic business value of a Moody's shrunk last year, just as McGraw-Hill owns S&P and the S&P component of McGraw-Hill, it--they have less of a moat around them and they're going to be affected for a long time by the experience of the last couple years.
I think I remember he also said something that in order to dump the Moody's stock now, he would destroy the market and it is kind of impossible to sell now this big chunk, even if he wanted to. But maybe that was in relation to PetroChina, which he sold on the way up.
In case, click through here to the original reference.

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