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Why would a company with mandatory dividends have no chance of succeeding?



Relative to other public companies, it basically would have have zero money to re-invest into growth. So there'd be no expectation of returns on investment—no reason to buy the stock.

Dividends are nice, but dividends would stay small if the company itself stays small (because it's constrained from growing.)


That is the whole idea here, though. That Wikipedia's money, which is being "reinvested in growth" is not having an impact on the mission. Stopping businesses from reinvesting in growth -- at least, stopping them doing it the traditional way -- is the point that Buffett is trying to make.

(I'm not equipped to evaluate whether or not that point is true, especially in the case of any specific company. Just trying to point out that the argument you're making here kind of begs the question.)


Not all companies are growth oriented.


My point was that all publicly-traded companies are. Speculation on corporate growth's geometric effects on corporate long-term profitability is what the stock market is.


Not at all.

Look at utilities and regional banks, which are usually priced based on return on assets or operating margins.

Growth oriented companies have advantages and disadvantages. Microsoft is a great example -- they have a business that's a monopoly cash cow, but they also need to hit high growth rates to prosper. They squandered a decade trying to both grow and milk the cow, and are now growing again, while breaking and eventually losing parts of the legacy business.


Sure. If you want to take your pile of cash, and set it on fire, a non-growth company is free to do that.

That is basically what you are doing when you leave money on the table. Opportunity costs are still costs.


I think you've spent too much time focusing on tech companies. Many companies have a growth ceiling (utilities, etc) that investors are happy with as long as it pays a dividend.


During the recession, I parked a significant amount of money in a variety of organizations that operate pipelines for oil, gas, CO2 and other products. Their sole purpose in being is to shlep stuff around and pay dividends.

For about 7 years, I was collecting an effective 10% dividend while getting significant capital appreciation as well.

Likewise, as part of my diversified retirement portfolio, I have a portion in boring dividend paying stocks that generate moderate returns and don't get punished as severely during bad market conditions.




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