Buffett’s Mystery $12.1 Billion Investments Revealed: Chevron and Verizon

Warren Buffet makes hand gesture on chair
Nati Harnik/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway released its stock investments as of December 31, 2020, yesterday, revealing he made two new major investment moves with the additions of Chevron and Verizon.

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The filings disclose a $8.6 billion stake in the phone company Verizon Communications and a $4.1 billion stake in oil company Chevron, according to the Securities and Commission’s filing as reported by Reuters.

In Berkshire Hathaway’s last filing in November, the Oracle of Omaha omitted confidential information from the public Form 13F report and filed it separately with the SEC, according to that filing.

A form 13F is required to be filed within 45 days of the end of a calendar quarter for managers with more than $100 million in assets under management, according to the SEC. A manager can request to withhold information if, for example, the reportable security is likely to be substantially harmed by public disclosure of Form 13F data, the SEC says.

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Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, has rarely made use of a confidential filing in the past decade. The last one was in 2015, and the mystery holding turned out to be Phillips 66, according to Barron’s.

This latest filing reveals that Berkshire also reduced its investments in several companies, including Apple, though at approximately $121 billion the company remains by far its largest common stock holding, according to Reuters.

In addition, despite rumors that Buffett might buy a stake in Tesla, Paypal or FedEx, he didn’t.

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Check Capital Management President and Chief Investment Officer Steven Check, who, according to Reuters, invests $300 million in Berkshire Hathaway, told the news agency: “They are Buffett-esque investments.” He went on to say, “Verizon has a low price-earnings ratio, and while oil prices are recovering the stocks still have a long way to go.”

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Following the announcements, Verizon’s stock was up 3% and Chevron’s was up 3.6% this morning.

In August, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed its investments in Japanese companies: Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo. The five stocks have rallied an average of 23% since then, boosting the combined value of Berkshire’s stakes from below $6.4 billion to nearly $7.7 billion in under six months, according to a Business Insider article. The article notes that these picks are quite unusual, as Buffett has “mostly preferred American companies such as Apple, American Express, Bank of America and Coca-Cola throughout his career.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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