Hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb targets Buffet at SALT conference

07 May 2015


Hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb, founder and chief executive of Third Point LLC,slammed legendary investor Warren Buffet in a room full of financiers yesterday, calling the legendary investor an all-seeing hypocrite for his views on everything from hedge funds to taxes.

Hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb (L) Warren Buffet

''I love reading Warren Buffett's letters,'' Loeb said in a Q&A with Anthony Scaramucci from the stage of the SALT Conference in Las Vegas.

''I love how he criticizes hedge funds, yet he had the first hedge fund. I love that he criticizes activists, yet he was an activist,'' said Loeb, letting his inner bad boy rip.

''He criticizes financial services companies, yet he invests in them. He thinks we should all pay more taxes but loves to avoid them.''

Loeb let fly the barbs at the end of a 45-minute chat with conference host Scaramucci, in which he talked about his transformation in the 20 years he had run a hedge fund, making ''significant stumbles'' along the way.

According to Loeb, at the time he started out he looked forward to making enough money to retire and surf all day. However, he had since become excited about being viewed as a cerebral financial statesman who got asked to meet with Japan's prime minister and the heads of Japanese corporations.

According to commentators, Loeb's Buffett diatribe might have much to do  with recent events related to Dow Chemical. Loeb, an activist investor, had been urging the giant corporation to make changes, including spinning off a division.

In January, Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said he had met with Buffett, who also owned Dow shares. According to Liveris, Buffett had said he was glad that Liveris was ''running the company for the investors who will stay versus the investors who will leave,'' which was seen as a potshot a Loeb.

Activist investors are often criticised for their focus on short-term gains, who are out for a quick buck.

Loeb's Buffett comments led to much  embarrassment on stage. Anthony Scaramucci, a master networker, whose fund-of-fund firm SkyBridge Investments ran the SALT investment conference, remarked that his chances of having Buffett at SALT next year were shot. ''Warren Buffett, if you are listening, I'm sorry,'' Scaramucci said.

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