Berkshire ditches GM, J&J and Procter & Gamble as it amasses cash
The conglomerate also reduces its holdings in Amazon and Chevron
Berkshire Hathaway says it has shed its holdings in General Motors (GM), Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Procter & Gamble, and trimmed its stake in Amazon.com, as the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett boosted its cash pile to a record $157.2bn.
In a regulatory filing on Tuesday that described its US-listed stock holdings as of September 30, Berkshire reported no holdings in GM, J&J, and P&G, after reporting respective stakes of $848m, $54m and $48m in June.
Berkshire also appeared to have shed what had been a $621m stake in Celanese, a speciality materials company. Its stake in Amazon fell by 5%.
One new position was an $8m stake in Atlanta Braves Holdings, 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, another Berkshire investment, in July.
The filing detailed investments that comprised most of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s equity portfolio, which totalled $318.6bn as of September 30.
Berkshire sold $7bn of stocks, including some of its big investment in Chevron, and bought just $1.7bn in the third quarter, a down period for its stock holdings led by Apple, whose share price fell 12%.
For all of 2023, Berkshire has sold $23.6bn more stocks than it has bought.
The net sales contributed to Berkshire’s record cash stake, which is about the same size as its $156.8bn stake in iPhone maker Apple.
Berkshire’s filing does not say which investments are Buffett’s, which are from his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.
Larger investments are normally Buffett’s, and investors often try to piggyback on Berkshire’s trading, reflecting the billionaire’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 US Securities and Exchange Commission for confidential treatment.
Berkshire has occasionally requested such treatment for major investments, including multibillion-dollar stakes in IBM and ExxonMobil 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 Microsoft bought last month, and reduced its holdings in life insurer Globe Life.
Berkshire also shed about two-thirds of its stake in Markel Group, 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.
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