Charlie formed his partnership in 1962 and operated much as I did. Neither of us had any institutional investors, and very few of our partners were financially sophisticated. The people who joined our ventures simply trusted us to treat their money as we treated our own. These individuals - either intuitively or by relying on the advice of friends - correctly concluded that Charlie and I had an extreme aversion to permanent loss of capital and that we would not have accepted their money unless we expected to do reasonably well with it.

I stumbled into business management after BPL acquired control of Berkshire in 1965. Later still, in 1969, we decided to dissolve BPL. After yearend, the partnership distributed, pro-rata, all of its cash along with three stocks, the largest by value being BPL's 70.5% interest in Berkshire.

Charlie, meanwhile, wound up his operation in 1977. Among the assets he distributed to partners was a major interest in Blue Chip Stamps, a company his partnership, Berkshire and I jointly controlled. Blue Chip was also among the three stocks my partnership had distributed upon its dissolution.

In 1983, Berkshire and Blue Chip merged, thereby expanding Berkshire's base of registered shareholders from 1,900 to 2,900. Charlie and I wanted everyone - old, new and prospective shareholders - to be on the same page.

Therefore, the 1983 annual report - up front - laid out Berkshire's "major business principles." The first principle began: "Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership." That defined our relationship in 1983; it defines it today. Charlie and I - and our directors as well - believe this dictum will serve Berkshire well for many decades to come.

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