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Lawrence Pidgeon, Investor Taught by Buffett Protege, Dies at 49

CBM Capital’s Lawrence Pidgeon Dies of Lung Cancer at 49
Lawrence S. Pidgeon, founder of New York investment firm CBM Capital Inc., has died after suffering from lung cancer. He was 49. Source: Family Photo via Bloomberg

Lawrence S. Pidgeon, a former Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst who went to work for Warren Buffett’s stock picker before founding his own investment firm, CBM Capital Inc., has died. He was 49.

He died on Nov. 13 at his Manhattan apartment, according to his father Harold Pidgeon. The cause was lung cancer, which was diagnosed in June.

“He never smoked or drank and did yoga and golf,” his father said yesterday in an interview. “He treated his body like a temple.”

Pidgeon started his career in 1986 at New York-based Goldman Sachs, now Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and remained there until 1989. He moved on to work with Louis Simpson, who ran the money management arm of Geico Corp., the insurer owned by billionaire investor Buffett through Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Simpson, 75, was once identified by Buffett as a potential head of Berkshire’s investments in an emergency.

In 1995, Pidgeon founded New York-based CBM Capital, which makes long-term investments in undervalued businesses and managed about $464 million as of Dec. 31, according to a government filing. In 2005, Forbes magazine said he was one of nine “hard-to-access investment wizards” to whom a new Goldman Sachs fund unit planned to steer clients.

Dirk Ziff, the billionaire heir to the Ziff-Davis Inc. publishing fortune, investing on behalf of his family, was one of CBM Capital’s early clients, according to a 1997 Wall Street Journal article. Ziff gave Pidgeon “a full year to set up his operation without asking him to make a single investment,” the Journal reported.

Behind Name

The initials that form the name of Pidgeon’s firm stand for “Coke Big Mistake.” It was intended to serve as a constant reminder to him of an investment error from early in his career: He failed to buy shares of Coca-Cola Co. in the 1980s after he analyzed the stock when it traded below $6, his father said.

Lawrence Samuel Pidgeon was born on Feb. 12, 1963, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Harold and Shirley Pidgeon. He enrolled at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1985 with an economics degree and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, his father said. He earned his master’s degree in economics the following year.

Pidgeon married Susan Goldfarb in February 2010. Three months later, he underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery, his father said. The couple then moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, near San Diego and where his parents now reside, to spend more time with his family. They also maintained an apartment in New York.

In addition to his wife, Pidgeon is survived by their six-month-old twins, Alexandra and Jack, an eight-year-old stepson, Daniel, his parents and two brothers, Brian, 52, and Mark, 48.

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