Associated Cotton Shops – the deal and the subsequent performance

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When they first starting discussing a possible deal, Rosner offered to show Warren round a few stores so he could see what he might be buying.

Warren turned him down flat.

The details of retailing were beyond his circle of competence. But what was definitely within his circle was the financial situation of the company then and in the recent past. So he asked Rosner to read the previous five years’ of balance sheet data over the phone.

At a meeting, with Charlie Munger present, Rosner was impatient and keen to conclude a deal quickly. So after about half an hour of discussion he says to Warren “They told me that you were the fastest draw in the West! Draw!”

Buffett replied that he would not delay much longer, that a decision would be made that very afternoon – all the men in room knew when to be decisive.

It is not clear to me how much was paid, but $6m has been mentioned by other writers.


Rosner sold because he wanted to retire. But Warren asked if Rosner could stay on to help the transition. He knew all along that Rosner “won’t be able to quit”.

Remarkably, he ended up staying……… To read the rest of this article, and more like it, subscribe to my premium newsletter Deep Value Shares – click here

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