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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired nearly $1bn of shares in Activision Blizzard before Microsoft agreed to buy the video game maker for $68.7bn, according to a regulatory filing.
Berkshire said that as of December 31, it owned 14.7-million shares worth about $975m of the Call of Duty maker.
Microsoft announced its plan to buy Activision Blizzard on January 18, in its largest ever acquisition.
Activision shares are up 23% in 2022 to $81.50, though they remain well below the proposed $95 per share takeover price, reflecting potential antitrust concerns.
Another prominent investor, Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point, bought 2-million Activision shares in the fourth quarter.
Berkshire on Monday disclosed its Activision stake in a securities filing detailing its US-listed stock investments as of December 31.
Investors monitor Berkshire’s investments closely to see where Buffett and his investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler see value.
The filings do not say who bought and sold what, though Buffett generally handles larger investments.
Other media have quoted Buffett, a longtime friend of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as saying he would not buy Microsoft shares because of potential conflicts of interest.
Gates ended his 16-year run on Berkshire’s board in 2020. Buffett had been a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but resigned in 2021.
In the fourth quarter, Berkshire also added to its stake in oil company Chevron, while reducing its holdings in healthcare companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie.
Apple remains Berkshire’s largest common stock holding.
Stock sales and Buffett’s six-year drought in buying large whole companies have contributed to Berkshire’s record $149.2bn cash stake as of September 30 2021, despite at least $21.9bn of stock buybacks that year.
Berkshire is expected to disclose more about its stock purchases, buybacks and cash on February 26 when it releases year-end results and Buffett’s widely read annual shareholder letter.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company also owns dozens of businesses including the BNSF railroad, Geico motor insurance and Dairy Queen ice cream.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.