Warren Buffett describes his most fun investment outside of Berkshire — a duck hunting club

What are Warren Buffett’s favorite investments outside of Berkshire Hathaway? Usually the ones where you make the most money, the legendary billionaire said at the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting on Saturday, May 4, exclusively live streamed on Yahoo Finance.

But Buffett has one in mind, a peculiarly tiny company that was actually a duck hunting club.

“One time I bought one share of stock in the Atled Corp,” he said. “Atled had 98 shares outstanding and I bought one — not what you’d call a liquid security.”

The “company” had just been 100 guys from St. Louis who had put in $50 each — two defaulted, hence the 98. They called it the Delta Duck Club.

“They shot ducks, but apparently someone shot into the ground and oil sprouted out,” Buffett said. They decided to rename the company Atled — “delta” backwards . Buffett said that the company eventually sold. The shares had gone from $100 to $29,000 per share in just a few years, when Buffett bought. At the time, the company had $20,000 in cash per share and was earning royalties of $11,000 — making it very attractive.

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Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, tours the exhibit hall at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, talks to a reporter in the exhibit hall at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, walks through the exhibit hall at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, walks through the exhibit hall at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A shareholder holds a drink posing with a cartoon Warren Buffett at the opening cocktail party for the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual meeting, the largest in corporate America, in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Shareholders wait to the bar to open at the opening cocktail party for the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual meeting, the largest in corporate America, in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Shareholders walk through the exhibit hall at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual meeting, the largest in corporate America, in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Shareholder Faye Meriwether fans herself with a fan with an image of Warren Buffett at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual meeting, the largest in corporate America, in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
A worker arranges a display of t-shirts with images of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc annual meeting, the largest in corporate America, in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, talks to a reporter in the exhibit hall at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Microsoft founder Bill Gates laughs while playing bridge with Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Microsoft founder Bill Gates smiles while playing bridge with Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, plays bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, pauses while playing bridge as part of the company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett (L), CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire are seen on a screen at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc is seen on a screen at the company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Attendees walk past a photograph of Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., during a shareholders shopping day ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Friday, May 4, 2018. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. investors should get ready for a bumpy ride. Warren Buffett's company is scheduled to report earnings Saturday morning before its annual meeting, and a new accounting rule could sink results. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee stands for a photograph with a cardboard cutout of Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., at the Brooks Sports Inc. booth during a shareholders shopping day ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Friday, May 4, 2018. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. investors should get ready for a bumpy ride. Buffett's company is scheduled to report earnings Saturday morning before its annual meeting, and a new accounting rule could sink results. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bernard Hees, chief executive officer of Kraft Heinz Co., center, speaks to a member of the media during a shareholders shopping day ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Friday, May 4, 2018. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. investors should get ready for a bumpy ride. Warren Buffett's company is scheduled to report earnings Saturday morning before its annual meeting, and a new accounting rule could sink results. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., center, tours the shopping floor ahead of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The rules, which require Berkshire to report unrealized gains or losses in equity investments in net income, helped fuel a $1.14 billion loss at Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in the first quarter. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees on the exhibit floor during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Saturday, May 5, 2018. The rules, which require Berkshire to report unrealized gains or losses in equity investments in net income, helped fuel a $1.14 billion loss at Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in the first quarter. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Runners compete in the Berkshire Hathaway 'Invest In Yourself' 5K race, presented by Brooks Sports Inc., on the sidelines the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Tens of thousands of investors descended on Omaha, Nebraska, over the weekend to hear Warren Buffett speak about business and the economy at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the conglomerate he's been building for five decades. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Warren Buffet, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., plays bridge at an event on the sidelines of the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Buffett said he doesn't want Berkshire Hathaway Inc. being a leader on cyber insurance because neither he nor others in the industry really know the risk. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. Olympian Ariel Hsing plays table tennis at an event on the sidelines of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett said he doesn't want Berkshire Hathaway Inc. being a leader on cyber insurance because neither he nor others in the industry really know the risk. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bill Gates, billionaire and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plays bridge at an event on the sidelines of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett said he doesn't want Berkshire Hathaway Inc. being a leader on cyber insurance because neither he nor others in the industry really know the risk. Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Had they not sold, the shares would have been worth millions today, he said.

“That was certainly the most interesting thing,” he said. “I didn’t have any cash at the time and I went down and borrowed money — I bought it for my wife. The loan officer said, would you like to borrow money for a shotgun as well?”

This Buffett story is less well-trodden than others in his repertoire, but the Oracle of Omaha has occasionally mentioned Atled over the years. In the 1995 shareholders meeting, he told the story of the Delta Duck Club as an example of a “cigar butt,” a company that has a little more use out of it despite appearances.

“When you get down to one duck club membership, well, you're really scavenging for cigar butts,” quipped Charlie Munger, Berkshire’s longtime vice chairman and Buffett’s business partner.

highlights

But Buffett noted that this “fun” Atled buy was actually an example of problems in the markets — a problem that he used to make a lot of money.

“I use that sometimes as an example of efficient markets because somebody called me and offered a me a share of it,” he said at the 1995 shareholders meeting. “Is that an efficient market or not?”

Clearly, the numbers simply did not add up.

“$29,000 for $20,000 of cash, plus $11,000 of royalty income at 25 cent gas and $3 oil?” he mused at the time, “I don’t think so.”

Certainly a very good deal at the time for Buffett. And for the billionaire, that’s fun.

As he put it, "They're always more fun when you make a lot of money off of them.”

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Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, personal finance, retail, airlines, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

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