$800M of AAPL stock sold off by Warren Buffett last quarter

Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate last quarter sold more than $800M of AAPL stock, according to SEC filings…

Business Insider suggests a couple of possible reasons for the sale. One of them seems unlikely – just a desire to cash out after the surge in value. Buffett has always invested for the long-term, rather than moving in and out of a stock for short-term gains.

But a second suggestion seems a good fit.

Buffett’s lieutenants may have sold the shares to free up cash to invest in Kroger and Biogen.

The amounts pretty much tally.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate shelled out $549 million for a 2.4% stake in US supermarket giant Kroger in the fourth quarter of 2019, SEC filings show. It also paid $192 million for a 0.4% stake in Biogen, a biopharmaceuticals titan that develops and delivers therapies for neurological diseases.

So $800M freed-up for purchases totaling $741M.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that he was thrilled Buffett invested in AAPL when it was revealed that Berkshire Hathaway had increased its holding to over $50B of the stock. Since then, the conglomerate has boosted its stake to 5.4% of the company, currently worth $72B. So selling $800M of AAPL is pretty inconsequential by Buffett standards.

Buffett said back in 2018 that he’d love to own the company outright.

In an interview with CNBC today, Buffet heaped even more positivity onto Apple, and the stock market is looking to propel AAPL even higher at the open.

Buffett said that his company owns about 5% of Apple stock right now, and wants to own more: he’d ‘love to own 100% of it’.

Of course, due to lack of capital, regulatory barriers and simple logistics, it’s impossible for Berkshire Hathaway to acquire all of a company as large as Apple.

However, his jovial comments send the message that he is very confident in Apple’s financials and business, with a positive outlook on the stock.

Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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