Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired nearly $1 billion (approximately Rs. 7,540 crore) in shares in Activision Blizzard before Microsoft agreed to buy the video game maker for $68.7 billion (approximately Rs. 5,17,880 crore) according to a Monday’s regulatory application.
Berkshire said it owned 14.7 million shares worth about $975 million (about Rs. 7,350 crore) of the Call of Duty maker as of December 31.
On January 18, Microsoft announced its plan to buy Activision Blizzard, its largest acquisition ever.
Activision shares are up 23 percent this year to $81.50 (about Rs. 6,140), though they remain well below the proposed purchase price of $95 (about Rs. 7,160) per share, pointing to potential antitrust concerns.
Another prominent investor, Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point, bought 2 million Activision shares in the fourth quarter.
Berkshire disclosed its interest in Activision in a filing describing US-listed equity investments as of December 31.
Investors are watching Berkshire’s investments closely to see where Buffett and his asset managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler see value.
The filings don’t say who bought and sold what, although Buffett generally handles larger investments.
Other media outlets have 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-year tenure on the Berkshire board in 2020. Buffett was a trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but resigned in 2021.
In the fourth quarter, Berkshire also added its stake in oil company Chevron, while scaling down its stakes in health companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co and Abbvie.
Apple remains Berkshire’s largest shareholding.
Share sales and Buffett’s six-year drought in buying large whole companies contributed to Berkshire’s record $149.2 billion (approximately Rs. 11,24,835 crore) as of September 30, 2021, despite at least $21, 9 billion (about Rs. 1,65,105 crore) from share buybacks in that year.
Berkshire is expected to disclose more about its stock purchases, buybacks and cash on Feb. 26 when it releases its year-end results and Buffett’s widely read annual shareholder letter.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company also owns dozens of companies, including the BNSF railroad, Geico auto insurance, and Dairy Queen ice cream.
© Thomson Reuters 2022