In its SEC Form 13F filing released after the market closed today (February 14, 2014), Berkshire Hathaway reported a $246 million investment in Liberty Global (LBTYA). This 2.95 million share stake was acquired during the fourth quarter of 2013. Liberty Global closed today at $83.60, prior to the disclosure of this position. Liberty Global owns interests in broadband distribution companies operating outside the U.S., primarily in Europe. This investment was most likely made by one of Warren Buffett’s portfolio managers, Ted Weschler, whose hedge fund, Peninsula Capital, held large positions in pay-TV providers DirecTV and Liberty Media for many years prior to his joining Berkshire in 2012. Berkshire has added large stakes in DirecTV and Liberty Media since the arrival of Ted Weschler and Todd Combs as Mr. Buffett’s portfolio managers. Both Liberty Media and Liberty Global are controlled by John Malone. Mr. Malone also has a large stake in DirecTV.
The only other changes to Berkshire’s portfolio during the fourth quarter of 2013 that exceeded $100 million, and were not previously disclosed, was a reduction of 18% (or $160 million) in its holdings of ConocoPhillips, and a cut in its stake in Suncor Energy by 28% (or $167 million).
I am quoted in a Bloomberg article on this topic:
“The company (Berkshire Hathaway) benefited from picks by Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, Buffett’s deputy investment managers. Each beat the 30 percent gain by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index last year.
“They’re proving themselves,” said David Kass, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business who has taken students to meet Buffett in Omaha. “Shareholders should be very pleased.”
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