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By Jeremy Glaser and Drew Woodbury, CFA | 04-25-2013 02:00 PM

Key Topics at This Year's Berkshire Meeting

Morningstar's Drew Woodbury says Berkshire's increasing cash position and Buffett's succession plan will be among the main focus points this weekend in Omaha.

Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. We're getting ready for the 2013 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. I'm here with Drew Woodbury, one of Morningstar's Berkshire analysts, to see what he is expecting the big topics of conversation will be at the meeting. Drew, thanks for joining me today.

Drew Woodbury: Thanks for having me.

Glaser: So let's start with the size of Berkshire. A lot of people have asked in the past if Berkshire has just gotten too big to manage, it’s gotten too big to really invest its cash adequately. Do you think this is something that we're going to be talking a lot about in Omaha?

Woodbury: Yeah, I think that will definitely come up as a topic, especially with Buffett touching on his thoughts on the dividend in the annual letter. And the cash keeps building, so that's an increasing issue for the company and kind of something that we're concerned about as well. So we hope at least that there is some good discussion about the capital allocation going forward, and the increasing size of the firm is a challenge.

Glaser: What do you think Buffett's thoughts on that will be?

Woodbury: Well, he laid out his dividend plan, or a lack thereof, pretty clearly in the annual letter. I think there will probably be a little bit of pushback on that from some investors. But he’ll probably remain pretty steadfast with his opinion that he laid out there.

Glaser: How about succession? What kind of questions are you expecting? What kind of discussion will there be?

Woodbury: Yeah, so that's been a popular topic over the past couple of years, especially the last year when the cancer diagnosis came up, it kind of came to the forefront. On the CEO front, probably not too much new there. We will give them credit for doing a good job on the investment portfolio side. Both Todd Combs and Ted Weschler have taken a lot more of the portfolio than we thought they would've at this point. So we give them a lot of credit there. Possibly there are some questions about how that'll evolve going forward. Will they be able to touch some of the legacy holdings, such as Coke or whatever else? Will there be discretion over that, as well?

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