Monday, November 17, 2014

Berkshire Hathaway 3rd Quarter 2014 13F-HR

The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa3rd Quarter 13F-HR was released on Friday. Below is a summary of the changes that were made to the Berkshire equity portfolio during that quarter.
(For a convenient comparison, here's a post from last quarter that summarizes Berkshire's 2nd Quarter 13F-HR.)

There was plenty of buying and selling during the quarter. Here's a quick summary of the changes:*

New Positions
Liberty Media (LMCK): 8.0 million shares worth $ 376 million**
Express Scripts (ESRX): 449 thousand shares worth $ 31.7 million

Added to Existing Positions
IBM (IBM): 304 thousand shares worth $ 57.7 million, total stake $ 13.4 billion
Wal-Mart (WMT): 1.59 million shares worth $ 121 million, total stake $ 4.62 billion
DirecTV (DTV): 6.53 million shares worth $ 565 million, total stake $ 2.60 billion
General Motors (GM): 7.04 million shares worth $ 225 million, total stake $ 1.28 billion
Charter (CHTR): 2.64 million shares worth $ 400 million, total stake $ 749 million
Suncor (SU): 2.02 million shares worth $ 73.0 million, total stake $ 668 million
Viacom (VIAB): 101 thousand shares worth $ 7.77 million, total stake $ 593 million
Precision Castparts (PCP): 206 thousand shares worth $ 48.7 million, total stake $ 493 million
Visa (V): 347 thousand shares worth $ 73.9 million, total stake $ 458 million
Liberty Global (LBTYA): 534 thousand shares worth $ 22.7 million, total stake $ 442 million
Mastercard (MA): 665 thousand shares worth $ 49.2 million, total stake $ 349 million

Not all of the activity has been disclosed. In the 3rd quarter of 2014, apparently some activity was kept confidential. Berkshire's latest filing says: "Confidential information has been omitted from the public Form 13F report and filed separately with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

Occasionally, the SEC allows Berkshire to keep certain moves in the portfolio confidential. The permission is granted by the SEC when a case can be made that the disclosure may cause buyers to drive up the price before Berkshire makes its additional purchases.

Reduced Positions
Bank of New York Mellon (BK): 1.28 million shares worth $ 49.4 million, total stake $ 905 million
Phillips 66 (PSX): 293 thousand shares worth $ 23.9 million, total stake $ 504 million
National Oilwell Varco (NOV): 920 thousand shares worth $ 70.0 million, total stake $ 486 million
ConocoPhillips (COP): 883 thousand shares worth $ 67.6 million, total stake $ 36.1 million

Sold Positions
Deere & Company (DE): All 3.98 million shares worth $ 326 million

Todd Combs and Ted Weschler are responsible for an increasingly large number of the moves in the Berkshire equity portfolio. These days, any changes involving smaller positions will generally be the work of the two portfolio managers.
(Though some of the holdings they're responsible for have become more substantial over time.)

Top Five Holdings
After the changes, Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio of equity securities remains mostly made up of financial, consumer and, to a lesser extent, technology stocks (mostly IBM).

1. Wells Fargo (WFC) = $ 24.0 billion
2. Coca-Cola (KO) = $ 17.1 billion
3. IBM (IBM) = $ 13.4 billion
4. American Express (AXP) = $ 13.3 billion
5. Wal-Mart (WMT) = $ 4.62 billion

As of the end of the quarter, Berkshire's Wal-Mart position was only somewhat larger than its Procter & Gamble (PG) position. Well, that's going to change with Berkshire recently agreeing to acquire Duracell from P&G in exchange for Berkshire's ownership stake in the consumer goods company.
(P&G will also contribute some cash.)

As is almost always the case it's a very concentrated portfolio. The top five often represent 60-70 percent and, at times, even more of the equity portfolio. In addition, Berkshire owns equity securities listed on exchanges outside the U.S., plus cash and cash equivalents, fixed income, and other investments.***

According to their latest filing, the combined portfolio value (equities, cash, bonds, and other investments) is ~ $ 240 billion including the investment in Heinz.
(Heinz is separately on the books for just under $ 12 billion, but that book value is likely to diverge greatly from economic value over time.)

The portfolio, of course, excludes all the operating businesses that Berkshire owns outright with, according to the latest letter, a bit more than 330,000 employees combined.

Here are some examples of the non-insurance businesses:

MidAmerican Energy, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, McLane Company, The Marmon Group, Shaw Industries, Benjamin Moore, Johns Manville, Acme Building, MiTek, Fruit of the Loom, Russell Athletic Apparel, NetJets, Nebraska Furniture Mart, See's Candies, Dairy Queen, The Pampered Chef, Business Wire, Iscar, Lubrizol, Oriental Trading Company, as well as 50% of Heinz.
(Among others.)

In addition, the insurance businesses (BH Reinsurance, General Re, GEICO etc.) owned by Berkshire have naturally provided plenty of "float" for their investments over time and continue to do so.

See page 111 of the annual report for a full list of Berkshire's businesses.


Long positions in BRKb, WFC, KO, AXP, USB, WMT, PG, DTV, COP, and PSX established at much lower than recent market prices. Also, small long position in IBM established at slightly higher than recent market prices.

* All values shown are based upon the last trading day of the 3rd quarter.
** Resulting from Liberty Media's stock split
*** Berkshire Hathaway's holdings of ADRs are included in the 13F-HR. What is not included are the shares listed on exchanges outside the United States. The status of those shares are updated in the annual letter. So the only way any of the stocks listed on exchanges outside the U.S. will show up in the 13F-HR is if Berkshire happens to buy the ADR. Investments in things like the preferred shares (and, where applicable, related warrants) are also not included in the 13F-HR. The same is true for the Heinz common shares (i.e. not just the Heinz preferred shares).
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