Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway buys US$3.5 billion of ExxonMobil shares

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 11:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 11:51am

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed on Thursday a new US$3.45 billion stake in ExxonMobil, after buying 40.1 million shares in the world’s largest publicly traded oil company.

Although the investment represents less than 1 per cent of Exxon’s shares, it signals Buffett’s approval of one of the world’s largest and most profitable companies.

“He likes buying big, established global brand names, and Exxon is a good flight-to-quality stock,” said Fadel Gheit, senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co, referring to Buffett.

“The stock has also lagged the market in the last three and five years. That makes it a typical Warren Buffett holding.”

The Exxon purchase was disclosed in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing that detailed US$92 billion of Berkshire equity investments, mostly listed on US exchanges, as of September 30.

Berkshire already has energy and utilities businesses, including MidAmerican Energy. An assistant to Buffett did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

US regulators require large investors to disclose their stock holdings every quarter, and the disclosures can offer a window into their strategies for buying and selling stocks.

Buffett sometimes gets SEC permission to delay disclosures so that he can buy stocks without having investors copy him. He had done this for the second quarter of this year, and revealed on Thursday that Exxon purchases took place during that period.

Among the other disclosed changes was a 44 per cent drop from the prior quarter in its share stake in another oil company, ConocoPhillips.