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Berkshire Hathaway Vice-Chair Charles Munger Dies At Age 99

Charles T. Munger, the long-time vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/BRK.B), has died at age 99.

Munger passed away peacefully at a California hospital. He would have turned 100 on New Year’s Day.

In addition to being Berkshire’s vice chairman, Munger was a real estate lawyer, publisher of the Daily Journal Corp., a member of the Costco (COST) board of directors, a philanthropist, and an architect.

His fortune upon his death was estimated at $2.3 billion U.S.

Warren Buffett, who is chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, referred to Munger as his business partner and credited him with broadening his investment strategy from favoring troubled companies at low prices to focusing on higher-quality securities.

One of Munger’s first influences was convincing Buffett to purchase See’s Candies for $25 million U.S. in 1972 even though the candy maker only had annual earnings of $4 million U.S. It has since made more than $2 billion U.S. for Berkshire.

Like Buffett, Munger was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He worked at Buffett’s grandfather’s grocery store as a teen, but the two future partners didn’t meet until years later.

Munger graduated from Harvard Law School in 1948 and practiced real estate law in California for years.

Munger and Buffett met in 1959 when Munger returned to Omaha to close his late father’s legal practice. He became vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in 1978.

Munger donated hundreds of millions of dollars to educational institutions, including the University of Michigan, Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

He often said that he shared a love of value investing with Buffett in which stocks are picked because their price appears to be undervalued based on the company’s long-term fundamentals.

“All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for,” Munger is quoted as saying. “You must value the business in order to value the stock.”

Berkshire Hathaway’s Class B stock is up 16% year-to-date and trading at $360.05 U.S. per share.