> Warren Buffett Blog: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Warren Buffett praises Mark Donegan of Precision Castparts

Just weeks after completing the purchase of Precision Castparts, Warren Buffett told shareholders on Saturday that he expects the manufacturing company’s chief executive officer, Mark Donegan, to keep up his buying streak.

“In building his business, Mark has made many acquisitions and will make more,” Buffett said in his annual letter to investors of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “We look forward to having him deploy Berkshire’s capital.”

While Buffett snags most of the attention for his mega deals – like the buyout of Precision Castparts – the comment is a reminder of how he’s set up Berkshire to have multiple avenues for reinvestment. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Buffett sells some AT&T and buys more Wells fargo

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sold some of its shares in AT&T Inc. in the fourth quarter, while the firm took a new $396 million stake in energy giant Kinder Morgan Inc.

Berkshire sold 12.7 million shares of AT&T in the last three months of the year, putting its stake at $1.6 billion as of Dec. 31.

Berkshire had bought into AT&T during the third quarter. The firm had been a large investor in DirecTV, which AT&T bought last July.

AT&T’s shares are up 5.7% in the past 12 months.

Berkshire also bought 9.41 million shares of Wells Fargo & Co., bringing its stake up to $26.1 billion, the firm’s largest holding.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Warren Buffett invests in oil company Kinder Morgan

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on Tuesday disclosed a new investment in pipeline operator Kinder Morgan, boosting its bet on the oil industry as crude prices hover near 12-year lows.

Berkshire owned about 26.53 million Kinder Morgan shares worth roughly $395.9 million at year end, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing its U.S.-listed stock investments.

Berkshire has also been boosting its stake in oil refiner Phillips 66. As of Friday, it had spent $1.08 billion this year on Phillips 66 stock, giving it a 14.3 percent stake.

Kinder Morgan shares have fallen by nearly two-thirds since April as falling oil prices cut into profitability.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Symetra deal with Sumitomo makes Berkshire Hathaway $642 million

Symetra Financial announced the completion of the acquisition of Symetra by Sumitomo Life Insurance Company in accordance with the terms of the previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated Aug. 11, 2015, among Symetra, As a result of the merger, each outstanding share of common stock of Symetra was converted into the right to receive $32.00 per share in cash, without interest, and less any applicable withholding taxes, and Symetra has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Life. Shares of Symetra common stock will no longer be listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange. 

The acquisition has benefited Warren Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway made nearly $642 million on the deal. Berkshire said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week that it sold all 20 million of its Symetra shares as part of the deal.

Like other shareholders, Omaha-based Berkshire received $32 per share as part of the Japanese company’s acquisition of Bellevue, Washington-based Symetra. The life insurer also provides employee benefits and annuities.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Benjamin Graham was the best teacher of financial history

I benefited enormously from the intellectual generosity of Ben Graham, the greatest teacher in the history of finance, and I believe it appropriate to pass along what I learned from him, even if that creates new and able investment competitors just as Ben's teachings did for him.