Some Berkshire shareholders put credentials on Craigslist, eBay

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:00 am

Official passes to this year's Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting, like just about everything else, are for sale at various e-commerce sites.

Locally, this year's Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' credentials are selling for $10 to $15 each on Craigslist Omaha/Council Bluffs. On eBay, the suggested bid price for individual passes ranges from $2.50 to $80, which includes the $49.95 cost of overnight shipping.

"These credentials [give] access to all shareholder events -- just wear around neck," a Craigslist ad said. "Use them to attend any event...$10 apiece while they last. Cash only," another trumpeted.

Why are shareholders selling their credentials?

Saturday on

>> During Saturday's Berkshire Hathaway meeting, join a live chat beginning by 7:30 a.m. and continuing through the question-and-answer session with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.

>> Live coverage from the CenturyLink Center throughout the day Saturday.

>> A post-meeting chat with World-Herald Buffett reporter and author Steve Jordon at 5 p.m.

>> The World-Herald's Berkshire shareholders meeting special section, and full coverage of the event.

"We cannot go this year," one said on Craigslist.

Officially, the credentials are reserved for A and B Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

Stockholders typically obtain them by completing a credential order form, showing a proxy card or showing copy of a broker's statement. The 2013 version features a black-and-white photograph of Nico's cafeteria, site of the first shareholders meetings, on a plastic tan-colored pass attached to a white lanyard.

One of the biggest selling points are reminders that the credentials are good not only for admission to the CenturyLink Center meeting, but also for shareholder discounts at several Berkshire Hathaway-owned retailers.

When contacted by phone, an Omaha-area seller said this is the first year she's put her extra passes up for sale.

"I own quite a bit of stock," she said. "They send them out extra to everyone, and I have extras."

If he credentials sell, she plans to "use the money to buy more stock."

So far, the Craigslist ad has only generated one or two responses, she said.

That may be because Berkshire officials a few years ago figured out that people were selling the credentials at a premium.

"We decided to sell them ourselves on EBay at a nominal price to keep people from getting stung," a company representative said by email. "We hope nobody pays more than what we charge which is basically to cover mailing charges.

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