Therefore, it's big news that he sold a small amount of his shares of distressed Wells Fargo. The number was 7 million shares of the 506.3 million shares he owns. Here is the media coverage.
The sale has occurred about 2 weeks before Wells Fargo's annual meeting.
So, some of us are wondering if Buffett did this in order to pressure Wells Fargo to do a lot more to recover from the scandal about setting up fake accounts. It will enter that meeting of shareholders totally on the defensive. To placate investors it has to have a plan that could produce an authentic turnaround - as well as successful rebranding.
Not only Wells Fargo is in trouble. As the recent PWC study on retail banking documented, all of retail banking is in a crisis. The sector is being disrupted by changing consumers, automation, upstart competition and the need to cut costs. Growth is a hard nut to crack. And, to do that retail banks have to differentiate themselves.
Wells Fargo has certainly differentiated itself. But for the wrong reason.
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