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When public companies mimic private firms

Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon shun short-term gains for long-term performance

SLOW BURN: An example of a public company that behaves as if it were private is Amazon (left). While the company has grown exponentially over the last 20 years, it has invested heavily, often sacrificing profits in the process. Investors who are bullish on Amazon's stock assert that the investments will one day produce industry-beating returns.

IT was one of the biggest rebukes of the public markets in recent memory - and it may not be the last. In October, just two years after Dell's management took the company off the stock market to make it a private company, Dell announced one of the biggest technology acquisitions ever.