Berkshire’s Portfolio Changes During Fourth Quarter of 2012

In its SEC 13-F filing for the fourth quarter 2012, Berkshire Hathaway revealed numerous changes to its portfolio.

The largest addition was an increase of $580 million to its position in Wells Fargo (WFC).   As a result, WFC has become Berkshire’s largest common stock investment with a value of $15.0 billion as of December 31, 2012.  Warren Buffett has held a large position in WFC since 1990, and has added to his position every year since 2005.  Other increases to existing positions include DaVita (DVA, +$375 million), General Motors (GM, +$250 million), DirecTV (DTV, +$225 million), and Wabco Holdings (WBC, +$150 million).

Berkshire also reported initial investments in Archer Daniels Midland (ADM, +$150 million) and Verisign (VRSN, +$140 million).

The largest reduction was in Kraft Foods (KRFT) and Mondelez (MDLZ).  KRFT is a fourth quarter 2012 spinoff from Kraft (KFT), and Mondelez (MDLZ) is the new name for the remaining businesses.  The combined reduction in Berkshire’s position in KRFT and MDLZ was $900 millon.  Berkshire’s remaining holdings in these two companies is valued at $400 million.

The portfolio changes to Wells Fargo, KRFT, and MDLZ are believed to have been made by Warren Buffett, since his initial positions generally exceed $1 billion, and these investments were made prior to the arrival of his portfolio managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.  The other portfolio changes (less than $400 million) were apparently made by Combs and/or Weschler.

I was quoted in a Bloomberg article on this topic:

Most of the new holdings in the portfolio are coming from Todd and Ted,” said David Kass, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, who has taken students to visit Buffett in Omaha”

The entire article is available at:

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