This article is authored by renowed author and corporate governance expert Lawrence Cunningham.

You know shareholder activists have made an impact when targeting Berkshire Hathaway is taken seriously enough to warrant a question to Warren Buffett at the annual meeting. Buffett scoffed at the idea by stressing a combination of performance and size. He’s right and activists should look elsewhere if they must. But there is a bit more to say than Buffett had time for.

Buffett is of course right to stress both performance and size. Berkshire is among the largest, most diversified and profitable corporations in history. It owns nine subsidiaries that, if they stood alone, would each be a Fortune 500 company, and boasts scores of diverse companies generating revenue from $1 billion to $8 billion apiece. At present, no sensible activist would target the firm, since Buffett built, runs, and controls it with 34% of the voting power.

But just as the 84-year old conglomerate builder plans for Berkshire’s fate beyond his lifetime, no doubt activists are planning too. After all, despite a whopping market capitalization of nearly $400 billion, most analysts agree that Berkshire is worth more — that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

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