Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has cashed in about $4 billion of US Bancorp stock, slashing its stake in the banking group by more than 60% in the space of four months.
The famed investor’s conglomerate has sold 84 million shares of the US Bank’s parent company since June 30, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed Thursday.
Buffett’s company has counted US Bancorp among its largest holdings since 2007, and owned 145 million shares worth $8.1 billion at the start of January. Now it holds just 53 million shares valued at $2.4 billion, reflecting its stock sales and the 22% drop in US Bancorp stock this year.
Prior to its sales, Berkshire’s cost base was $5.4 billion, or about $38 a share. US Bancorp shares traded around $45 a share between July 1 and October 31, the period when the vast majority of selling took place. Therefore, Berkshire likely made an 18% profit from its sales, or around $600 million.
Buffett’s company, which holds some of its US Bancorp stock via its New England Asset Management subsidiary, has pared its overall stake from nearly 10% to below 4% this year. As it now owns less than 5% of the bank, it no longer has to disclose any further stock sales to the SEC, leaving it free to eliminate the position without informing shareholders.
A chunk of the sales likely took place in the third quarter of this year, as Berkshire’s recent earnings showed it sold $4.7 billion of banking, financial, and insurance stocks in the period. Buffett and his team will file a portfolio update next week, confirming how much US Bancorp stock they sold in the quarter.
While Berkshire was a net buyer of stocks last quarter, it has been reducing a few long-held positions. For example, it revealed earlier this month that it sold about $275 million of BYD stock between September 1 and November 1. It has now cut its stake in the Tesla rival by 19% or close to $900 million since July, after not touching the bet since 2008.
Buffett’s company has made sweeping changes to its bank holdings in recent quarters. It exited its wagers on JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and other Wall Street players between 2020 and 2021. On the other hand, it topped up its massive Bank of America stake in the summer of 2020, and built a nearly $3 billion position in Citigroup in the first quarter of this year.
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