updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu June 25, 2009
Buffett on Jobs' health
Apple was negligent when it failed to mention Steve Jobs' liver transplant, claims prominent American investor Warren Buffett. Speaking with CNBC, Buffett argues that the surgery was a "material fact" relevant to investors, and hence something the company should have disclosed. "If I have any serious illness, or something coming up of an important nature, an operation or anything like that, I think the thing to do is just tell the American, the Berkshire [Hathaway] shareholders about it," he comments. "I work for 'em. Some people might think I'm important to the company."
"Certainly Steve Jobs is important to Apple. So it's a material fact. Whether he is facing serious surgery or not is a material fact. Whether I'm facing serious surgery is a material fact. Whether [General Electric CEO] Jeff Immelt is, I mean, so I think that's important."
While American companies not strictly obligated to share health information with investors, they are required to publish facts investors may need for informed choices. "If they [Apple] tried to lessen the disclosure and make it misleading by omission, that's just as bad as telling something that flat isn't true," says lawyer Jeffrey Soza, speaking with the Chicago Tribune. Apple has continually attempted to downplay Jobs' recent health problems, describing them only as related to a "hormonal imbalance" in spite of the need for a six-month medical leave.