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Buffett Says Buying Facebook for a Pop Was Terrible Idea

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Facebook Inc. investors frustrated with the stock’s decline since its public offering are paying the price for betting on a short-term rally.

“You shouldn’t buy a farm because you think you’re going to sell it the next day for more money,” Buffett said in an interview yesterday on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop with Betty Liu” program. “That’s a terrible reason to buy a stock.”

Facebook began trading on May 18 after selling shares in an initial public offering for $38 apiece, valuing the Menlo Park, California-based social network at $104.2 billion at the time. The shares have fallen 19 percent from the IPO price.

“A very high percentage of the people that bought it initially bought it because they thought it was going to go up the next day,” said Buffett, whose firm’s equity portfolio was valued at about $89.1 billion as of March 31. “I’ve never bought a stock in my life with that in mind.”

Buffett built Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire over four decades by acquiring businesses including car insurer Geico Corp. and betting on stocks like Coca-Cola Co. Buffett oversees the largest stake in the Atlanta-based soft-drink maker and began acquiring the shares in 1988.

Buffett usually avoids investing in technology companies like Facebook because he isn’t well-equipped to evaluate the businesses, he said. Investors should consider the long-term value of Facebook as they choose whether to buy stock, he said.

“All kinds of stocks go down,” Buffett said. “The question is whether Facebook is worth $100 billion or $50 billion or $200 billion.”

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