The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, is always on the hunt for the next great deal for his Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B). So what is Warren Buffett buying now?
In the company’s most recent 13-F filing we learned that Buffett has been pretty active in recent months.
He more than doubled his stake in Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), a company he first added to the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio in the second quarter of this year. He also upped his stake in DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) by 27%.
Together these investments are a bet on residential television services. Charter also provides Internet services to residential and commercial customers, though it is unclear whether or not Buffett’s investment in Charter is related to the current debate about net neutrality that could affect the profitability of Internet service providers (ISPs).
Buffett also added Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX) to the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, a position that began around $32.1 million in the third quarter of this year and has already risen more than 14%.
But those weren’t Buffett’s most high-profile changes to the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio.
Buffett believes in General Motors (NYSE: GM) and the revival of Detroit. He has stated this publicly and is putting his money where his mouth is, boosting his stake in General Motors by 21% during the third quarter. He now owns 40 million shares of the automaker, a stake worth almost $1.3 billion.
This is a huge vote of confidence in the American car company, which remains embroiled in a scandal involving tens of millions of vehicle recalls that involve a defect linked to more than a dozen deaths.
But by far the most high-profile move Buffett has made recently is his purchase of Duracell from Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG). The consumer brands conglomerate has been quietly off-loading brands in the last year. It has already sold Iams, Eukanuba, six laundry brands sold outside the U.S., six cosmetics and skin care brands and many more.
Last month the company announced that it would try to spin off its Duracell battery division as a freestanding company.
Enter Warren Buffett.
Proctor & Gamble has been one of Berkshire Hathaway’s top five holdings for a while now, a stake worth around $4.7 billion. Then last week, Buffett agreed to buy Duracell from Procter & Gamble. But this isn’t a traditional acquisition.
Instead of paying cash for Duracell, Buffett is going to trade his $4.7 billion in Proctor & Gamble stock for the company’s Duracell division. Proctor & Gamble will also be adding $1.7 billion in cash to Duracell before the deal is completed in mid-2015.
By trading his Proctor & Gamble stock instead of selling it, Buffett will be able to avoid a tax bill of more than $1 billion. Plus, he gets to keep the cash-generating machine that is Duracell.
In this case, the question isn’t just “what is Warren Buffett buying now,” but also “what is Warren Buffett trading for now?” The answer is Duracell, General Motors, Express Scripts, DirectTV and Charter Communications.
What will Warren Buffett buy next? As the world’s most successful investor, it’s always worth paying attention.
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