Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was slammed for not spending when markets crashed. It announced more than $35 billion of investments last quarter

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  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced more than $35 billion of investments last quarter.
  • The billionaire investor’s company spent almost $18 billion on stocks, repurchased a record $9 billion of its shares, and struck about $10 billion worth of deals.
  • Buffett and his team boosted their Bank of America holding, added Snowflake and four pharmaceutical companies to their portfolio, revealed stakes in five Japanese trading companies, and began building a secret position.
  • They also agreed to acquire most of Dominion Energy’s natural-gas assets and help finance Scripps’ takeover of ION Media.
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Warren Buffett was fiercely criticized for not deploying Berkshire Hathaway’s mountain of cash when the pandemic tanked markets in the spring. The famed investor’s company responded to the backlash by announcing more than $35 billion worth of stock purchases, buybacks, and deals last quarter.

Berkshire spent $17.6 billion on equities in the three months to September 30, its latest earnings show. That figure includes its $2 billion-plus purchase of Bank of America stock, $735 million investment in Snowflake, and roughly $5 billion bet on AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Merck, and Pfizer.

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Berkshire also disclosed in August that it had built 5% stakes in five Japanese trading companies over the preceding 12 months, at a cost of about $5 billion. Moreover, it secured regulatory permission to not disclose one of the stocks in its portfolio last quarter, suggesting it’s building a secret position.

Buffett and his team snapped up Berkshire shares as well. They repurchased $9 billion worth in the three-month period, smashing their previous quarterly buyback record of $5.1 billion.

Berkshire’s bosses struck a couple of deals too. They shook hands on acquiring most of Dominion Energy’s natural-gas assets in exchange for $4 billion in cash and taking on $5.7 billion of the energy group’s debt.

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They also agreed to help finance Scripps’ acquisition of ION Media, handing the broadcaster $600 million in exchange for preferred shares and $300 million worth of stock warrants.

Buying and selling

Buffett’s company spent nearly $18 billion on stocks last quarter, but it also sold $12.8 billion worth. For example, it dumped more than 95% of its JPMorgan stock, almost halved its remaining Wells Fargo stake, and exited its Costco position after more than 20 years.

Still, the combination of Berkshire’s $4.8 billion in net stock purchases, $9 billion worth of buybacks, and more than $10 billion in deals should assuage any doubts that Buffett and his team are willing to splash their cash.

Bastion Balance Seoul, Korea.