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Warren Buffet’s Berkshire bought nearly $1 billion worth of Activision stock just before Microsoft took over


Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired nearly $1 billion (roughly Rs 7,540 crore) of shares in Activision Blizzard before Microsoft agreed to buy the video game maker for $68.7 billion (about Rs. 5,17,880 crore) according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

Berkshire said that as of December 31, it owned 14.7 million shares worth around $975 million (about Rs 7,350 crore) in the Call of Duty maker.

Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard on January 18, in its biggest acquisition ever.

Activision shares have risen 23% this year to $81.50 (around Rs 6,140), although they remain well below the proposed buyout price of $95 (around Rs 7,160) per share, reflecting potential antitrust concerns.

Another top investor, Daniel Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund, bought 2 million Activision shares in the fourth quarter.

Berkshire disclosed its stake in Activision in a filing detailing its investments in U.S.-listed stocks as of Dec. 31.

Investors are watching Berkshire’s investments closely to see where Buffett and his investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Westchler see value.

The filings don’t say who bought and sold what, although Buffett usually manages larger investments.

Other media quoted Buffett, a longtime friend of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, as saying he would not buy Microsoft stock due to potential conflicts of interest.

Gates ended his 16 years on the Berkshire board in 2020. Buffett had served as a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but resigned in 2021.

In the fourth quarter, Berkshire also increased its stake in oil company Chevron, while trimming its stakes in healthcare companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Abbvie.

Apple remains Berkshire’s largest common stock holding.

Share sales and Buffett’s six-year drought in buying entire large companies contributed to Berkshire’s record cash stake of $149.2 billion (roughly Rs 11,24,835 crore) as of September 30 2021, despite at least $21.9 billion (about Rs. 1,65,105 crore) in share buybacks that year.

Berkshire is expected to disclose more information about its stock purchases, buybacks and cash on Feb. 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 auto insurance and Dairy Queen ice cream.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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