Warren Buffett and Elon Musk, two of the most successful and wealthiest businessmen on the planet, have a history of not liking each other very much. In the years leading up to the pandemic, the two billionaires often clashed in the media over everything from investment strategy to business philosophy. But their relationship as business peers seems to have taken a favorable turn in recent years. At Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder meeting on May 6, Buffett called Musk a “brilliant, brilliant guy” and said he admired the Tesla and SpaceX CEO for his “dedication to solving the impossible.”
Buffett also praised Musk’s performance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” show that aired on April 29. “Elon does a terrific job toe-to-toe with Bill Maher,” the 92-year-old investor said. “He dreams about things and his dream have got a foundation.”
Buffett’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger, also spoke highly of Musk at Saturday’s event. The 99-year-old Berkshire vice chairman said Musk “would not have achieved what he has in life if he hadn’t tried for unreasonably extreme objectives.”
The glowing remarks prompted a reply from Musk, who tweeted on May 6, “appreciate the kind words from Warren and Charlie.”
The friendly exchange over the weekend stood in contrast to what Musk and Buffett (and Munger) said of each other a few years ago.
Musk and Buffett are both members of the Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Buffett to encourage the world’s richest individuals to donate the majority of their fortune to charitable causes. But Buffett has said he hasn’t talked to Musk in person in years because Musk never comes to the Giving Pledge’s annual gatherings.
How Buffett and Musk’s relationship evolved over the years
Back in 2009, when Tesla was still a fledgling electric car startup struggling with financial woes, Munger was convinced it had no chance of success, according to a Musk tweet in February 2022.