cut its equity stakes in Bank of New York and Activision Blizzard and increased its holding in Louisiana-Pacific in the fourth quarter, according to filings released Tuesday. But it’s what Warren Buffett didn’t do that may be the most interesting aspect of the firm’s 13-G.
Yes, Berkshire Hathaway (ticker: BRK/A, BRK/B) reduced its holding in
Bank of New York
) to 25 million shares in the fourth quarter from 62.2 million shares in the third quarter. Berkshire cuts its interest in
) by 7.3 million shares to 52.7 million shares. The stake in
) rose to 7 million shares from 5.8 million shares.
The change in these holdings was reported in 13-G filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 13-G is an annual filing for passive holdings that are more than 5%.
But sometimes just looking at the filing can give a misleading picture of what Buffett has been doing. Berkshire’s stake in
), its largest equity investment, rose slightly to 915.6 million shares, but that wasn’t because the company bough more shares. Instead, the increase of about 300,000 shares likely reflects the inclusion of Apple shares held by Alleghany, the insurer that Berkshire bought in October.
And while the 13-G shows 278.2 million shares of Occidental Petroleum, that number includes some 83.9 million warrants to buy the stock that Berkshire has held for nearly four years, and that Berkshire continues to own 194.3 million shares, a 21% stake in the oil company, and no more. Those warrants can be exercised at around $60 a share. Warrants are long-term call options that allow the holder to buy stock at a predetermined price. Occidental closed at $66.36, up 2.5%, meaning the warrants are in the money.
It gets more complicated still. Berkshire’s 13-F was filed after the close Tuesday, and it includes all its U.S. equity holdings, not just those with stakes of 5% or more. The 13-F is less comprehensive than the 13-G because it excludes stock held by New England Asset Management, which is part of Berkshire’s General Re insurance division. New England Asset Management files a separate 13-F report but its holdings are included in Berkshire’s 13-G report.
Berkshire, for instance, held 894.8 million shares of Apple at the end of the third quarter based on its 13-F report. New England held 20.5 million shares.
Write to Andrew Bary at [email protected]
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