GM

Berkshire sheds General Motors, Procter & Gamble as it builds cash

Credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

By Jonathan Stempel

Nov 14 (Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway BRKa.N said on Tuesday it has shed its holdings in General Motors GM.N and Procter & Gamble PG.N, and trimmed its stake in Amazon.com AMZN.O, as the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett boosted its cash pile to a record $157.2 billion.

In a regulatory filing detailing its U.S.-listed stock holdings as of Sept. 30, Berkshire reported no holdings in GM and P&G, after reporting stakes of $848 million and $48 million in June, and said it reduced its stake in Amazon by 5%.

Berkshire also appeared to have shed what had been a $621 million stake in Celanese CE.N, a specialty materials company.

One new position was an $8 million stake in Atlanta Braves Holdings BATRA.O, which indirectly controls the Major League Baseball team and The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-use development next to the Braves' Truist Park.

The Braves had been split off from Liberty Media LBYTA.O, another Berkshire investment, in July.

Tuesday's filing detailed investments that comprised most of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire's equity portfolio, which totaled $318.6 billion as of Sept. 30.

Berkshire sold $7 billion of stocks, including some of its big investment in Chevron CVX.N, and bought just $1.7 billion in the third quarter, a down period for its stock holdings led by Apple AAPL.O, whose share price fell 12%.

For all of 2023, Berkshire has sold $23.6 billion more stocks than it has bought.

The net sales contributed to Berkshire's record cash stake, which is about the same size as its $156.8 billion stake in iPhone maker Apple AAPL.O.

Berkshire's filing does not say which investments are Buffett's, which are from his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, and why the investments were made.

Larger investments are normally Buffett's, and investors often try to piggyback on Berkshire's trading, reflecting Buffett's reputation as one of the world's greatest investors.

To that end, Berkshire decided not to disclose one or more of its holdings, and said it has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for confidential treatment.

Berkshire has occasionally requested such treatment for major investments, including multi-billion-dollar stakes in IBM IBM.N and Exxon Mobil XOM.N more than a decade ago. Neither appears to be a current Berkshire investment.

In other third-quarter sales, Berkshire finished exiting video game maker Activision Blizzard, which was bought by Microsoft MSFT.O last month, and reduced its holdings in life insurer Globe Life GL.N.

Berkshire also shed about two-thirds of its stake in Markel Group MKL.N, a notable change given that some investors have in recent years viewed the insurance and investment company as a "mini-Berkshire."

Buffett, 93, has run Berkshire since 1965.

His conglomerate also owns dozens of businesses including the Geico car insurer, BNSF railroad, energy and industrial companies, and consumer brands such as Benjamin Moore, Dairy Queen, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom and See's Candies.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Lincoln Feast.)

((jon.stempel@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6317; Reuters Messaging: jon.stempel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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