Monday, 11 November, 2019

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway increases bet on Amazon.com

Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman.
Mike Blake  Reuters files Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman. Mike Blake Reuters files
Russell Knight | 17 August, 2019, 15:41

(NYSE:BRK.A) has increased its stake in Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) by 11% in the second quarter to a value of more than $1 billion US, according to a regulatory filing.

Berkshire, which revealed a 483,300-share stake in Amazon back in May, increased its position in the second quarter by 11 percent to 537,300 shares, worth almost $950 million.

Ackman, whose $8 billion Pershing Square Capital Management ranks as one of the world's most closely watched activist investment firms, surprised some investors and outsiders alike with the bet on Berkshire, which has a $500 billion market capitalization.

Warren Buffett made a couple of tweaks during the second quarter to Berkshire Hathaway's $198 billion equity portfolio, but the conglomerate's top holdings remained the same.

The disclosure was made in a regulatory filing detailing Berkshire's USA -listed stocks as of June 30. The stake was worth more than $696 million as of early trading on Thursday. The ace investor had bought a large chunk of Amazon shares after having been impressed with the company's growth over the last decade.

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The filing showed Pershing Square also trimmed it stakes in Chipotle , Lowe's , Starbucks from the previous quarter.

The biggest investment to exit Berkshire's portfolio was a roughly US$1.7-billion stake in USG, a wallboard maker acquired by Germany's Knauf KG in April. Investments under $1 billion are handled by the company's other two investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler. Several Ackman investors said, with a laugh, that they don't expect Ackman to call Buffett up with a list of suggestions on how to perform better.

Berkshire Hathaway announced on August 14 that it is increasing its stake in Amazon by 11%.

Berkshire's stock price is more than 12 per cent below its record high set in October.

"These structural competitive advantages of Berkshire's insurance business are enduring and will likely further expand", Ackman wrote, adding that Buffett should also be known as the "world's greatest insurance company architect and CEO".

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