What is Warren Buffett's largest holding?

By Brent Radcliffe AAA
A:

The investing strategies of Warren Buffet, the billionaire investor dubbed the Oracle of Omaha, have long been the focus of admirers and competitors alike. His immense wealth comes from the shares he owns in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), the holding company he has helmed since the 1960s. Because Buffett owns 23% of the economic interest of Berkshire, examining the shares owned by the company is the easiest way to see what stocks Buffett thinks are worth investing in.

There are several ways that investors may want to slice and dice the list of Berkshire Hathaway’s, and by extension Warren Buffett’s, holdings: value of shares held, the percentage stake in the company the holding represents, and the number of shares held.

Holding Value

As of July 2014, the value of publicly listed shares held by Berkshire Hathaway exceeded $100 billion. Its largest holding was in Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), a financial firm, with its 463 million shares valued at $23 billion (as of July 2014). Its second largest holding is in The Coca-Cola Company (KO), a global beverage manufacturer, with 400 million shares valued at $15.7 billion. Its third largest holding is in American Express Company (AXP), a global financial company, with 151 million shares valued around $13.3 billion.

Largest Stake

Investors may also consider the size of the stake Berkshire owns in each company. It has a 30% stake in USG Corporation (USG), a building material manufacturing and distribution company; a 17.5% stake in DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (DVA); a 14.3% stake in American Express Company; and an 11.5% stake in Moody’s (MCO).

While the 30% stake Berkshire has in USG Corporation represents a substantial commitment, the value of these shares is only 1% of the value of all of the public companies that Berkshire has investments in.

Number of Shares Held

All told, Berkshire owns more than 1.6 billion shares in publicly traded companies. Sixty percent of the shares – over one billion – are concentrated in three companies: Wells Fargo & Co. (463 million shares), The Coca-Cola Company (400 million shares), and American Express Company (151 million). These three companies also happen to represent the three companies that have the highest value in Berkshire’s portfolio, coming in at $52.6 billion.

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