Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why hasn't Koch Industries' remarkable business success received the same attention as Berkshire-Hathaway?

Note: Koch Industries is very good at the Berkshire-Hathaway technique of scooping up distressed businesses for a song; Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, bought a bankrupt $52.5 million biodiesel plant in Beatrice, NE for just $5 million in 2008 and will operate it in a joint venture with Benefuel.

If the Koch Bros. hadn't achieved widespread notoriety due to their political activities, few people would have heard of their family or their company. Below, Chris Leonard, author of a forthcoming Simon and Shuster book on Koch Industries, talked to about his piece in Fortune, The New Koch.
Why isn’t Charles Koch mentioned in the same breath as Warren Buffett?
I think one key reason Charles Koch doesn’t get the attention he deserves is because the company is not publicly traded. Because Berkshire Hathaway has public shareholders (at least the handful who can afford the stock!), it generates a lot of coverage by media outlets. Koch Industries, on the other hand, isn’t traded on any stock exchange, so there isn’t the same kind of story to follow. Koch doesn’t hold the kind of splashy annual meetings that Warren Buffett presides over, for example. On the contrary, Koch is a very private person. Again and again, I heard from current and former employees that Charles Koch, and by extension Koch Industries, prefers to avoid the limelight when possible. The culture is more about getting the job done rather than trying to get attention.

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