Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed multibillion-dollar stakes in telecoms company Verizon and oil-and-gas major Chevron on Tuesday, investments it had previously kept confidential.
The investment conglomerate disclosed it had purchased 58.3m shares of Verizon in the third quarter of 2020 and another 88.4m in the fourth quarter, lifting its stake to $8.6bn, one of its largest equity holdings.
According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company also bought 48.5m shares in Chevron in the second half of 2020 worth $4.1bn at the end of last year.
Berkshire, which owns the BNSF railroad and Geico insurer, did not say why it had asked US securities regulators for permission to keep the stock purchases confidential in its third-quarter filings. It did not respond to a request for comment.
Buffett works with deputies Todd Combs and Ted Weschler in allocating the $245bn equity portfolio. It was not clear who had decided to invest in Verizon and Chevron.
Verizon shares climbed 3 percent and Chevron advanced 2.5 percent in after-hours trading following news of the investments.
Darren Pollock, a portfolio manager at Cheviot Value Management, said the purchases of Verizon and Chevron “make perfect sense” given both were “relatively undervalued and offer high dividend yields”.
“At share prices seen in the last few months, both Verizon and Chevron are available with a considerable margin of safety — limited downside risk while producing considerable income and moderate appreciation potential,” Pollock said. “At worst, they’re a relatively safe parking place for more than $12bn of Berkshire’s growing cash balance.”
The so-called Oracle of Omaha has worked to retool the company’s portfolio over the past year, shifting its investments as the coronavirus crisis sent much of the business world reeling.
Chevron and Verizon are also strong dividend stocks, which Buffett generally appreciates. In the list of Buffett’s largest holdings, the wireless operator now ranks sixth and Chevron tenth.
Chevron Long (Buy)
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