More humour from Warren Buffett:
In 1985, a major investment banking house undertook to sell Scott Fetzer, offering it widely – but with no success. Upon reading of this strikeout, I wrote Ralph Schey, then and now Scott Fetzer’s CEO, expressing an interest in buying the business. I had never met Ralph, but within a week we had a deal.
Unfortunately, Scott Fetzer’s letter of engagement with the banking firm provided it with a $2.5 million fee upon sale, even it it had nothing to do with finding the buyer. I guess the lead banker felt he should do something for the payment, so he graciously offered us a copy of the book on Scott Fetzer that his firm had prepared. With his customary tact, Charlie responded: “I’ll pay $2.5 million not to read it.”
At Berkshire, our carefully-crafted acquisition strategy is simply to wait for the phone to ring. Happily, it sometimes does so, usually because a manager who sold to us earlier has recommended to a friend that he think about following suit.