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Posts Tagged ‘Mergers and aquisitions’

Article from SFGate.

“Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison, who refused to answer questions from Congress about his solar startup’s high-profile bankruptcy, has left the company, according to a new court filing.

Harrison stepped down on Friday, Solyndra reported in a bankruptcy court document filed late Tuesday. The company said Harrison left “as scheduled,” but didn’t elaborate. A Solyndra spokesman could not be reached for an explanation.

To replace Harrison, Solyndra wants to hire R. Todd Neilson, who served as bankruptcy trustee for boxer Mike Tyson and rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight. Neilson has a background in forensic accounting, including a stint with the FBI as a special agent on white-collar crime cases.

If approved by the court, Neilson would serve as Solyndra’s chief restructuring officer, shepherding the company through the Chapter 11 process. Solyndra would also hire Neilson’s company – Berkeley Research Group, based in Emeryville – to help restructure or liquidate the company.

Neilson did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Harrison led Solyndra for little more than a year, joining the Fremont company in July 2010. At that point, Solyndra was struggling.

In 2009, the company won a federal loan guarantee worth up to $535 million to build a factory for its tube-shaped solar modules. But by the time Harrison arrived, replacing founder Chris Gronet, the company had canceled plans for an initial public stock offering. Auditors questioned Solyndra’s chances for long-term survival.

Harrison, a former Intel executive, was unable to stop the company’s slide, as low-priced solar panels pouring into the market from China undercut Solyndra’s sales.

The company finally filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 6 of this year, igniting a political firestorm. FBI agents interviewed Harrison two days later, as part of an investigation into the accuracy of Solyndra’s financial statements.

Harrison and the company’s chief financial officer agreed to appear before a congressional subcommittee investigating Solyndra’s loans. But acting on the advice of their attorneys, both men refused to answer the subcommittee’s questions.

In July, Harrison had told members of the same panel that the company’s finances were on firm footing.

It’s not unusual for a company to switch CEOs during Chapter 11 proceedings, bankruptcy experts say. Often, companies bring in reorganization specialists who understand the bankruptcy process far better than the people they replace.

“It does help to have familiarity with the process,” said John Hansen, a partner in the Nossaman LLP law firm. “I’ve seen a lot of regular business people who’ve been in Chapter 11, and they’ve been very frustrated. It’s very restrictive, and they can’t always do what they want to do, the way they want to do it.”

In addition, involvement in a government investigation can interfere with an executive’s ability to do the job.

“When a CEO gets into a position where the company may be facing criminal prosecution or a criminal investigation, the likelihood of the CEO leaving gets pretty high,” said Eric Talley, co-director of the UC Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy.

Like all corporate bankruptcies, Solyndra’s will be complex. In a separate set of bankruptcy court filings on Wednesday, a German company that designed equipment for Solyndra accused its former client of stealing its intellectual property.

Von Ardenne claims that it supplied Solyndra with machinery to deposit solar-cell materials on glass tubes, only to see the Fremont company build its own versions based on Von Ardenne’s designs.”

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Article from SF Gate.

“Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp. are leading an acquisition spree that has propelled the value of U.S. technology deals 24 percent to more than $50 billion this year and broken down decades-old barriers between industries.

The companies are using purchases to become one-stop providers of products from computers to software to networking gear, rather than focusing on a niche. A plunge in computing-industry stocks last week, spurred by concerns that demand is slowing, makes some companies more affordable.

HP, Oracle, IBM, Cisco Systems Inc. and Dell Inc., with a collective $100 billion in cash, have said they plan to keep making acquisitions. Buyers will probably scoop up targets in areas such as storage, software and security, helping them cater to corporate customers building data centers to handle a Web traffic boom, said Charles King, principal analyst at research firm Pund-IT in Hayward.

“A lot of tech leaders are repositioning themselves,” said Drago Rajkovic, head of technology mergers at Barclays Capital in Menlo Park. “Tech merger and acquisition activity is going to remain very strong this year and going into next year.”

Companies have announced $51.9 billion worth of technology and Internet takeovers in the United States this year, up from $41.8 billion in the same period in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The buyers are pursuing a vision of cloud computing, which lets customers store their software in massive data centers, rather than in the computer room down the hall. Record low borrowing costs have helped spur the deals.

To build up its data-center technology, Hewlett-Packard agreed to spend $2.35 billion last month for the money-losing Fremont storage maker 3Par Inc., after an 18-day bidding war with Dell more than tripled 3Par’s stock price. Shares of other potential targets, such as Riverbed Technology Inc., Isilon Systems Inc. and Fortinet Inc., have each climbed more than 25 percent since the bidding for 3Par was made public.

Project California

Cisco’s expansion into computing hardware has put pressure on HP, IBM and Dell, the leaders in that industry, to respond. Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of networking equipment, introduced its own line of servers in March 2009. The effort, originally code-named Project California, is beginning to gain acceptance from big customers, says Dominic Orr, chief executive officer of one of Cisco’s networking rivals, Aruba Networks Inc.

“That’s creating a lot of nervousness,” Orr said. “Nobody wants to be Californicated by Cisco.”

The acquisitions are a boon to the largest investment banks. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has advised companies in more than 30 percent of U.S. technology deals this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital ranked second and third.

The price HP paid for 3Par was about 10 times the company’s revenue over the past four quarters. The premium reflected a growing urgency to use acquisitions to fuel growth and underscores the dearth of affordable runners-up.

“The public markets are pricing in premiums that, frankly, are going to prevent some deals from happening,” Cisco Senior Vice President Ned Hooper, who handles corporate business development, said. “The companies that are winning in the market are responsible players.”

Oracle, the world’s second-largest software company, snapped up almost 70 companies in the past five years. In January, it bought Sun Microsystems Inc., marking a foray into computer hardware. Last month, it used the acquisition to introduce high-end servers designed to run Oracle programs faster than competing machines.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has pledged to acquire more hardware companies, especially in the chip area. While HP and Dell use processors from Intel Corp. in their servers, Oracle plans to build out Sun’s proprietary chip technology.”
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Sure the economy is coming back from the slump, but this article from InternetNews brings some hard reality checks.

“Total venture capital spending increased 17 percent in the third quarter to more than $4.8 billion, but investments in privately held software companies fell to its lowest level since 1996.

Thanks mainly to its relatively low initial startup costs and its home run potential in the equities market, the software sector for years has either ranked first or second in total VC spending.

But it fell to No. 3 among investment sectors last quarter, according to the latest MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.”

Biotech firms, which checked in with the most total dollars garnered in the quarter at $905 million, closed 104 deals in the quarter. In the second quarter, biotech upstarts received a total of $947 million—a 4 percent decrease—but the total number of financing rounds closed surged up 16 percent from 90 deals.

Clean technology, which includes companies focused on alternative energy, pollution, recycling and power supplies and conservation was next with $898 million in VC investments, up an impressive 89 percent from the prior quarter.

Software firms did close the most deals in the quarter (128 rounds) but fell to third place in overall investments at $622 million, down 9 percent in both dollars and deal volume from the $680 million and 141 deals closed in the second quarter.

“The third quarter illustrates a gradual and deliberate industry shift towards a longer term venture capital investment strategy,” said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. “Venture capitalists are becoming increasingly focused on industry sectors which require multiple rounds of financing for an extended time horizon.”

Software’s loss was a boon for the biotech, medical devices and clean technology sectors.”

Read the whole article here.

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Here is an interesting article by Aaron Pressman at BusinessWeek.

“The conventional wisdom used to be that investors should run from technology companies that did too many mergers and acquisitions. But over the past decade, a group of top-tier tech wheelers and dealers has emerged that increased shareholder value with their acquisitiveness. Companies such as Oracle, IBM, and Adobe Systems have successfully used acquisitions to get into new lines of business, expand their customer bases, and grab hot new technologies. Still, some companies consistently overpay or buy yesterday’s big breakthrough. An informal survey of tech fund managers, analysts, and consultants yielded a list of companies investors will likely favor on more deal news—and a few they may shun.

Once mainly a hardware vendor of computers large and small, IBM (IBM) has used a sharp acquisition strategy to expand into software and information technology services. After a string of successful additions, including performance management software maker Cognos, and Rational, which makes tools to help programmers write code, IBM announced in July it would pay $1.2 billion for SPSS, a leading developer of software to analyze statistical data. “All the software acquisitions have helped shift the company toward higher margins and faster growing areas,” says Ken Allen, manager of the T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund. IBM was his 15th largest holding as of June 30.

Salesforce.com (CRM) has always been a poster child for the move from desktop applications to Web-based products. As more computing and data storage have migrated to online servers—the clouds in “cloud computing”—Salesforce has used a series of small acquisitions to keep pace. In 2006 it grabbed wireless software developer Sendia, for example, helping make all its offerings available over mobile phones. “They’re doing a good job of pushing each acquisition into their services,” says Jeff Kaplan, founder of tech consulting firm Thinkstrategies.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) is the king of bolt-on acquisitions. In a typical deal, Cisco purchases a much smaller company, such as voice-over-Internet gearmaker Sipura, which it bought for $68 million in 2005. Then it uses its manufacturing smarts and sales force to promote cutting-edge products that often fit into existing lines of business. Cisco also uses purchases to diversify and get into new businesses. This year it added Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip digital video camera. “Their goal is to become a larger player in the consumer electronics and networking business,” says Ned Douthat, an analyst at Ockham Research in Roswell, Ga.”

Read the full article here.

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Gerbsman Partners has been retained by XTENT, Inc. to solicit interest for the acquisition of all, or substantially all, the assets of XTENT, Inc. (“XTENT”).  The Sale of XTENT’s assets is being conducted pursuant to a Plan of Complete Liquidation and Dissolution which was approved by XTENT’s board of directors on May 11, 2009 and by its stockholders on August 3, 2009 (“Plan of Dissolution”).

The information in this memorandum does not constitute in whole or in part an offer or a contract.

The information contained in this memorandum relating to XTENT’s Assets has been supplied by XTENT. It has not been independently investigated or verified by Gerbsman Partners or its agents.

Potential purchasers should not rely on any information contained in this memorandum or provided by XTENT, or Gerbsman Partners (or their respective staff, agents, and attorneys) in connection herewith, whether transmitted orally or in writing as a statement, opinion, or representation of fact. Interested parties should satisfy themselves through such independent investigations as they or their legal and financial advisors see fit.

XTENT, Gerbsman Partners, and their respective staff, agents, and attorneys, (i) disclaim any and all implied warranties concerning the truth, accuracy, and completeness of any information provided in connection herewith and (ii) do not accept liability for the information, including that contained in this memorandum, whether that liability arises by reasons of XTENT’s or Gerbsman Partners’ negligence or otherwise.

It is expected that any sale of the XTENT Assets will be made on an “as-is,” “where-is,” and “with all faults” basis, without any warranties, representations, or guarantees, either express or implied, of any kind, nature, or type whatsoever from, or on behalf of XTENT or Gerbsman Partners. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, XTENT and Gerbsman Partners and their respective staff, agents, and attorneys,  hereby expressly disclaim any and all implied warranties concerning the condition of the XTENT Assets and any portions thereof, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of habitability, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.

This memorandum contains confidential information and is not to be supplied to any person without Gerbsman Partners’ prior consent. This memorandum and the information contained herein are subject to the non-disclosure agreement attached hereto as Exhibit A.

Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, XTENT, Inc. is a medical device company focused on developing and commercializing innovative customizable drug eluting stent systems for the treatment of cardiovascular artery disease.

XTENT believes its assets are attractive for a number of reasons:

XTENT’s Custom NX® drug eluting stent systems are CE Marked and represent:
– the first customizable stent system ever approved for sale
– the longest coronary stent system ever approved for sale
– the first approved stent system to allow treatment of multiple lesions using one catheter
– the first approved stent system to incorporate a post-dilatation feature into the delivery catheter.

Post dilatation is the use of a balloon to further expand a section of a stent after it has been deployed in order to better position that section of the stent against the blood vessel walls.  Other stent systems require the insertion of a separate balloon in order to post-dilatate.

XTENT’s Custom NX drug eluting stent systems received a conditional IDE (Investigational Device Exemption) from the United States Food and Drug Administration.

XTENT’s Intellectual Property includes 31 issued US patents, 57 pending US patent applications, 11 granted international patents and 99 international pending patent applications related to custom-length stent deployment, stent structure, drug eluting balloons and bioabsorbable medical implants.

Custom NX is a differentiated stent and delivery technology
– The ability to tailor the stent to the lesion is unique to XTENT and may offer significant clinical benefits
– XTENT’s segmented stent design allows for improved deliverability, flexibility and conformability
– Treatment of multiple lesions and balloon post-dilatation with a single catheter
– Treatment of long lesions up to 60mm in 6mm increments without the need to overlap
– Compelling clinical data from 248 patients in the CUSTOM I/II/III and PK trials with long term follow-up
– An existing license agreement with Biosensors for Biolimus A9 (BA-9)
– Reduce the number of SKU’s required to stock the cath lab from approximately 50 per company, down to 3

Large and well established drug eluting stent market
– Existing greater than $4.0 billion and growing worldwide drug-eluting stent market
– Existing reimbursement
– Physician base known for rapid adoption of new technologies that provide improved safety/efficacy and/or greater efficiency

Peripheral Stent: XTENT’s peripheral stent technology is a modular customizable nitinol self expanding stent which consists of a series of stent segments. These segments allow the user to customize the length of stent for the lesion treated by controlling the number of discrete segments to be deployed in situ up to 200+mm.

Bioabsorbable Stent: XTENT’s bioabsorbable stent technology has a unique method involving the integration of thermally controlled nanoparticles into the polymer of the stent. Once activated by light, the nanoparticles temporarily allow the stent to become compliant in order to allow for its expansion.

Drug Eluting Balloon: XTENT’s custom stent IP and technology can be applied to a customizable drug eluting balloon system which may offer significant potential benefits versus fixed length drug eluting balloons.  First, XTENT’s sheath protected delivery system protects the balloon’s drug coating as it is delivered to the target lesion. Second, the ability to customize the length and diameter of the stent while in the patient’s artery may reduce the incidence of geographic miss.

XTENT Company Profile

XTENT was founded in 2002 and completed its initial public offering in 2007 raising net proceeds of $68.2 million.  Prior to its IPO, XTENT raised approximately $75 million through private placements of its convertible preferred stock involving leading venture capital firms including Morgenthaler Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures and Split Rock Partners.

XTENT is a developer of innovative customizable drug eluting stent systems for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The XTENT® platforms have been designed for use in the heart to treat coronary artery disease, or CAD, and for use outside the heart to treat peripheral vascular disease, or PVD.  The XTENT Custom NX drug eluting stent, or DES, system is the only stent system designed to offer personalized care to today’s CAD patients, and to benefit those delivering their care by improving efficacy and efficiency while reducing costs.

XTENT’s drug eluting stent systems are the only stent systems designed to enable physicians to customize both the length and diameter of the stent at the site of the diseased section of the artery, or lesion.  In addition, XTENT’s stent systems are designed to treat single, multiple, or long lesions with one device, whereas the current generation of drug eluting stents would require multiple stents, multiple balloons and catheter exchanges.

Impact of Technology on the Market
XTENT believes that its customizable stent technology offers advantages over currently marketed fixed length drug eluting stents.
– The Custom NX is coated with a formulation of BA-9 and PLA. BA-9 is the first drug that was developed specifically for the treatment of cardiovascular disease to receive an Investigational Device Exemption from the FDA.  Additionally, PLA is a bioabsorbable material that the body ultimately absorbs over time as the artery heals.
– Using the Custom NX60 for long lesions avoids the need to overlap multiple shorter stents, potentially eliminating stent fracture and reducing inventory for the manufacturer and cath lab.
– Customizing stent length at the site of the lesion may allow for more accurate placement of stents.
– Custom NX is intended to provide faster procedures for physicians (both planning & execution) due to the ability to treat multiple lesions and perform post-dilatation with a single device and reduced exchanges.
– The average DES procedure uses 1.5 stents at an average cost of $2,000 per stent.  Custom NX offers possible cost savings by treating multiple lesions or long lesions with one device.  Potential additional cost savings may be realized by eliminating the need for a separate post-dilatation balloon.

XTENT’s Assets
XTENT has developed a portfolio of assets critical to the development and manufacture of customizable drug eluting stent systems. These assets fall into a variety of categories, including:

– Patents, Patent Applications and Trademarks
– CE Mark for Custom NX drug eluting stent systems
– Conditional Investigational Device Exemption for Custom NX drug eluting stent systems
– A license for Biolimus A-9 and bioabsorbable PLA coating from Biosensors
– Custom built equipment for manufacturing drug eluting stent systems
– Technology and intellectual property related to custom length peripheral stent systems
– Technology and intellectual property related to bioabsorbable stents
– Patient Data from 4 clinical trials involving 248 patients.

The assets of XTENT will be sold in whole or in part (collectively, the “XTENT Assets”). The sale of these assets is being conducted with the cooperation of XTENT.  XTENT and its employees will be available to assist purchasers with due diligence and a prompt, efficient transition to new ownership. Notwithstanding the foregoing, XTENT should not be contacted directly without the prior consent of Gerbsman Partners.

The Sale of the XTENT Assets is being conducted pursuant to the Plan of Dissolution.  As provided under the Plan of Dissolution, XTENT expects the sale of the XTENT Assets to be completed without any further vote or action by XTENT’s stockholders.

The Bidding Process for Interested Buyers

Interested and qualified parties will be expected to sign a nondisclosure agreement (attached hereto as Exhibit A) to have access to key members of the management and intellectual capital teams and the due diligence “war room” documentation (the “Due Diligence Access”). Each interested party, as a consequence of the Due Diligence Access granted to it, shall be deemed to acknowledge and represent (i) that it is bound by the bidding procedures described herein; (ii) that it has an opportunity to inspect and examine the XTENT Assets and to review all pertinent documents and information with respect thereto; (iii) that it is not relying upon any written or oral statements, representations, or warranties of XTENT, Gerbsman Partners, or their respective staff, agents, or attorneys; and (iv) all such documents and reports have been provided solely for the convenience of the interested party, and neither XTENT nor Gerbsman Partners (or their respective, staff, agents, or attorneys) makes any representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the same.

Following an initial round of due diligence, interested parties will be invited to participate with a sealed bid, for the acquisition of the XTENT Assets. Sealed bids must be submitted so that the bid is actually received by Gerbsman Partners no later than Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (the “Bid Deadline”) at XTENT’ office, located at 125 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Please also email steve@gerbsmanpartners.com with any bid.

Bids should identify those assets being tendered for in a specific and identifiable way. The attached XTENT fixed asset list, Exhibit B attached, may not be complete and Bidders interested in the XTENT Assets must submit a separate bid for such assets. Be specific as to the assets desired. XTENT’s cash and accounts receivable are not being offered for bid as part of the XTENT Assets.

Any person or other entity making a bid must be prepared to provide independent confirmation that they possess the financial resources to complete the purchase where applicable. All bids must be accompanied by a refundable deposit check in the amount of $200,000 (payable to XTENT, Inc.). The winning bidder will be notified within 3 business days after the Bid Deadline. Unsuccessful bidders will have their deposit returned to them. XTENT reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, accept or reject any bid, or withdraw any or all assets from sale.

XTENT’s board of directors and its stockholders have previously approved a Plan of Complete Liquidation and Dissolution.  As a result, provided that the Bid conforms to the specifications outlined in this letter, the sale of XTENT’s assets will not require any additional approval of, or action by, the stockholders of XTENT.  XTENT will require the successful bidder to close within 7 business days.  Any or all of the assets of XTENT will be sold on an “as is, where is” basis, with no representation or warranties whatsoever.

All sales, transfer, and recording taxes, stamp taxes, or similar taxes, if any, relating to the sale of the XTENT Assets shall be the sole responsibility of the successful bidder and shall be paid to XTENT at the closing of each transaction.

For additional information, please see below and/or contact:

Steven R. Gerbsman
(415) 456-0628
steve@gerbsmanpartners.com

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Here is an excellent Bloomberg article by way of statesman.com.

“SAN FRANCISCO — Acquisitions of startups fell to the lowest level in a decade in the second quarter as the recession stopped companies from buying smaller competitors.

A total of 59 startups merged with other companies, a drop of 30 percent from a year earlier and dropping to the lowest level since 1999, the National Venture Capital Association said. Five U.S. startups have had initial public offerings so far this year. In 2007, before the financial crisis, there were 86.

Acquisitions and IPOs — the two ways for venture capitalists to cash in their investments — have almost come to a standstill, NVCA President Mark Heesen said. With the IPO market struggling, larger technology companies — confident that prices will fall — are waiting before proposing takeovers, he said.

“The buyers on the merger and acquisition side got smart real fast,” Heesen said. “They wait for companies to come crying to them to get bought.”

No venture-backed companies went public between September and March — the longest slump since the association began collecting data in 1971. Only 11 startups have had IPOs since the end of 2007, and there is little immediate prospect for improvement, said Paul Bard, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Only 10 startups have filed pre-IPO paperwork with U.S. regulators, and none has done so since January, said Emily Mendell, an NVCA vice president. That signals that deals such as the May IPOs of Austin-based SolarWinds Inc. and online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable Inc. failed to spur other young companies to act.

It also means the market won’t revive in the next few months, Bard said.

“Unless filing activity spikes in the next two to three weeks, we’re unlikely to see a more sustainable pickup in VC-backed IPOs before Labor Day,” Bard said. “The bar will remain high for most VC-backed deals to get done.”

Even if the 10 biggest venture capitalists had 25 companies ready to go public by early next year, that would still leave IPOs at about a third of their levels from 2004 to 2007, he said.

That means startups lack bargaining power in merger talks, a situation that is keeping offers low and stalling many negotiations that do occur, Heesen said.

Only 13 of the 59 companies that sold out reported how much they were paid, the association said. Prices were higher than in the first quarter, a possible sign of improving conditions later this year, it said.

Cisco Systems Inc.’s $590 million deal to buy Pure Digital Technologies Inc., maker of the Flip Video camera, helped drive up the average merger price to $197.7 million.

Five companies commanded less than venture capitalists had invested, the venture capital association said. Purchases of medical-instrument makers CoreValve Inc. and Chestnut Medical Technologies Inc. were the only ones in which early backers received 10 times their outlay, the traditional standard for a venture-capitalist home run, Mendell said.”

Read the full article here.

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Here is a commentary from Warren Buffet on the economic crisis.  It is a reworked piece from “The Swamp”, Chicago Tribune´s Washington blog, written by Mark Silva.

“We have not come off the bottom yet,” Warren Buffett says.

“Buffett, the multibillionaire oracle from Omaha and informal adviser to President Barack Obama, says the actions that the federal government is taking today raise the “probability” of “very significant inflation down the road,” but they are necessary and “appropriate.”

“What we’re doing raises the probability significantly of very significant inflation down the road –not this year or next year or the year after that.. But we’ve taken actions and they were appropriate actions,” Buffett said in an interview with FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman.

“It will have consequences, and nobody knows exactly what they will be and how effective we will be at draining a system we’ve been flooding, but the probability of significant inflation has gone up,” Buffett said. Asked about the possibility that the U.S. is issuing too much debt to pay for all the bailouts and economic stimulus underway, he said: “Well, it’s doing what it has to do. And it was appropriate.”

With unemployment already clocked at 9.4 percent last month and expected to surpass 10 percent in the months ahead, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – its legendary stock down to the $86,000-per-share range since the recession took hold – said of the jobless rate: “It’s going higher — business has not bounced back. We have not come off the bottom yet…

“It will work out in the end,” Buffett said. “Since 1776. it’s been a mistake to bet against America. America solves its problems. How soon, nobody knows. But we have not come off the bottom yet. And it will work out in the end.”

Read and see the full interview here.

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