Berkshire Hathaway Adds $450 Million to Stake in Charter Communications in Second Quarter of 2015

In an SEC 13F filing after the market closed on August 14, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) revealed several changes to its portfolio during the quarter ending on June 30, 2015.  The largest changes were:

(1) An increase of about $450 million in its stake in Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR).  This represents a 42% increase in Charter to $1.5 billion, which is currently in the process of acquiring Time Warner Cable (NASDAQ:TWC).  This is an investment of Ted Weschler and/or Todd Combs.

(2) Berkshire eliminated its $600 million investment in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) (Ted Weschler and/or Todd Combs) and its $80 million stake in National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) (Todd Combs).

(3) Berkshire reduced its stake in Viacom (NYSE:VIAB) by 32 percent or $100 million (Todd Combs).

Berkshire also reported a small increase in its stake in U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) (Warren Buffett) and small reductions in its investments in Chicago Bridge & Iron (NYSE:CBI) (Todd Combs) and Wabco (NYSE:WBC)(Todd Combs).

The only new position added in the second quarter, and reported on the 13F, was Axalta Coating Systems Ltd., (NASDAQ:AXTA) which was disclosed in April.  Berkshire Hathaway purchased the stock from Carlyle Group LP for $560 million, representing a stake of 8.7% in the company.  Axalta supplies coatings to car-repair shops and automakers.

This 13F filing noted that at least one of Berkshire’s investments received confidential treatment.  The identity of this new investment will likely be revealed in Berkshire’s 13F filing for the third quarter which will be released on or about November 16.  Berkshire’s 10-Q for the second quarter indicated that it made additional equity investments of about $3 billion in the quarter ending June 30, 2015, with only $1 billion being explained by the 13F.

Finally, on July 24, 2015, AT&T (NYSE:T) completed its $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).  Under the terms of the merger, DirecTV shareholders received 1.892 shares of AT&T common stock and $28.50 in cash, per share of DirecTV.   Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F revealed that it owned 31.4 million shares of DirecTV (Todd Combs and Ted Weschler) as of June 30, 2015.  That holding likely converted into 59.4 million shares of AT&T valued at approximately $2 billion at AT&T’s closing price of $34.29 on July 24.  In addition, Berkshire Hathaway likely received approximately $900 million in cash.


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