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"To me the explanation is simple: 1.2 X most recent published book value. Repurchase at any other price could be construed as trading on inside information"

I believe it is last published book value that matters, but for a different reason than cited above. If I were WEB, that is what I would want it to be, irrespective of any legal or transparency reasons, which simply put a nice touch on it. My reasons are based on economic fundamentals as WEB might see them. Consider 2 scenarios;
1.We are well into a quarter since the last published book value and the market has risen somewhat or even a lot for a quarterly move. The probabilities favor Current Book value to have risen too, but not by a huge amount, just because of its inherent upside inertia. Brk's price will probably have risen too since quarter end, perhaps typically by about the same percentage amount as book. So, even if WEB could buy at the true current book, there would not be much to gain from having bought at quarter end, assuming published and current book allowed for buying in either/both instances. So, having the right to buy at current book does not provide for much advantage.
2.For scenario 2, consider a relatively long recession that has depressed earnings, culminating in a severe fear-laced market meltdown such as 4Q08/1Q09. In this scenario, BRK's earnings and stock portfolio hit could result in a big drop in its price. WEB, thinking long term about the IV of BRK's businesses and its portfolio companies would likely see both sets of IV's well above where the panicked market sees them and hence decides to buy on the open market. Being able to use the last published book, rather than the lower current book, would give him the opportunity to buy more shares before the market price rise hits book, thus preventing more buying.

Thus, using published book potentially gives BRK more buying opportunity when people are fearful, with very little loss of opportunity in more "normal" times.

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