The famed investor’s company cut its stake in Taiwan Semiconductor — which it only established in the third quarter of last year — by 86% to 8.3 million shares. The disposals fueled a slump in the value of the holding from $4.1 billion to about $618 million in the three months to December 31.
Warren Buffett’s luck changed this year, allowing him to spend a record sum on stocks and end his deal drought. Here are his 6 highlights of 2022.
The annual letter
An epic buying spree
The annual meeting
Oil stocks, Japan, and BYD
An unexpected gift
Buffett’s conglomerate also pared its US Bancorp stake by 91% to fewer than 7 million shares, worth just under $300 million at the end of December. Similarly, it sliced its BNY Mellon position by about 60% to 25 million shares, worth $1.1 billion at year end.
Less drastically, it trimmed its Activision Blizzard holding by around 12% to 53 million shares, valued at about $1.5 billion at the end of last year.
Berkshire didn’t add any new names to its US stock portfolio last quarter, nor did it eliminate any holdings. But the company made several notable tweaks. For example, it trimmed its Chevron and Ally Financial wagers, and bolstered its Paramount Global stake.
Moreover, Berkshire’s listed Apple holding swelled by about 334,000 shares to 895 million shares, as Buffett’s company acquired Alleghany and took ownership of the insurer’s shares of the iPhone maker in the period.
Berkshire’s overall Apple stake, which includes around 20 million shares held by its New England Asset Management subsidiary, stood at 916 million shares or 5.8% of the company at the end of December. The position was worth over $140 billion as of Tuesday’s close, making it easily the most valuable holding in Berkshire’s portfolio.
Despite the disposals in the period, the value of Berkshire’s portfolio grew by about $3 billion to $299 billion. Berkshire will disclose how much it spent buying stocks and made selling them last quarter, plus how much its cash pile grew and how much it spent on buybacks, in the coming days.
Buffett and his team struggled to find cheap stocks, strike deals, or justify repurchasing Berkshire’s shares during the stock market’s pandemic boom. However, their luck changed in 2022, allowing them to build massive positions in companies such as Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, acquire insurer Alleghany, and bolster their share buybacks.
Buffett’s company owns scores of businesses including See’s Candies, Geico, and the BNSF Railway. It also holds multibillion-dollar stakes in public companies such as American Express, Coca-Cola, and Kraft Heinz.