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For a longer term perspective, buybacks restarted August 7 2018...
Then a brief pause of nothing in April, followed by a new level of commitment at seven times the rate...



FWIW, I looked at the rate of purchases per calendar day in all the known date intervals.
For example, we know the number of A and B shares at Sept 30, Oct 16, Dec 31, and Feb 16. Plus some purchase date ranges have been reported explicitly.
For intervals with few days, I combined them with the interval before or after which was most closely contiguous.

The main insight: there is a very strong correlation between buyback activity and valuation, as you might expect.

Price to book value is a flawed and deteriorating yardstick of share value, but it's good enough for rock and roll.
If you fit a line through the 20 observations of date ranges, you get this result.
P/B value versus number of A-share equivalents purchased per calendar day.
1.08    300.9
1.10 283.9
1.12 266.8
1.14 249.8
1.16 232.7
1.18 215.7
1.20 198.7
1.22 181.6
1.24 164.6
1.26 147.5
1.28 130.5
1.30 113.4
1.32 96.4
1.34 79.4
1.36 62.3
1.38 45.3
1.40 28.2
1.42 11.2
1.433 0


This fit suggests buybacks would halt in the vicinity of 1.433 times book.
From the actual data we have, the highest *known* purchase was at 1.438 on 2019-04-10, surprisingly close.

There are only a few outlier observations, though still not too far from the trend.
There were oddly few repurchases in May 2020 based on P/B valuation, and oddly many repurchases in March 2019 and September 2020.
But overall the trend is clear.


The valuation meaning of any given P/B ratio will be drifting, but very slowly.
Oddly enough, my valuation estimate suggest that the P/B ratio representing fair value has actually fallen a bit in the last several years.
Buybacks drive the fair P/B up, so this result is because other changes in the mix of assets have been bigger.

Since I had all the figures, I also checked how closely the prices paid match the average market prices.
It looks like Berkshire has averaged an execution price around .475% below VWAP, which pretty good given the volumes involved.
They buy more shares not just in months with cheaper valuations, but also more during the cheaper days and perhaps hours.
My guess has been that they use a moving "VWAP below limit" order.

Jim
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