Berkshire reveals stakes in Dollar General, Verisk

AP News
Posted: Aug 15, 2011 5:58 PM
Berkshire reveals stakes in Dollar General, Verisk

Warren Buffett's company revealed new investments in retailer Dollar General and insurance data specialist Verisk Analytics Monday along with several other adjustments in its $52.4 billion U.S. stock portfolio.

Investors will have to wait a while to see the complete picture of Berkshire Hathaway's holdings, because the Omaha-based company received permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission to keep some holdings confidential.

Berkshire said that at the end of June, it held 1.5 million Dollar General shares and 2.1 million shares of Verisk.

Besides those new holdings, Berkshire reported increases in holdings of Wells Fargo and MasterCard, and Buffett's company trimmed its Kraft Foods stake.

Berkshire officials do not typically comment on quarterly stock filings like the one submitted Monday, and they did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Buffett's company often asks the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission not to disclose information that could hurt its trading strategy, since the market likes to follow what the "Oracle of Omaha's" company does. Berkshire said Monday that some information about its investments had been withheld from the public filing and submitted to the SEC confidentially.

The quarterly filings don't differentiate between investments Berkshire makes, investments any of roughly 80 subsidiaries make or investments made by Buffett himself. But that won't stop some investors from guessing about whether some of the new investments were made by Todd Combs.

Buffett makes nearly all of Berkshire's investment decisions, but he announced last fall that Combs had been hired to manage a portfolio worth between $1 billion and $3 billion.

When Berkshire revealed its new MasterCard stake last quarter, many people speculated that was one of Combs' investments because the hedge fund he managed before joining Berkshire held MasterCard stock. Berkshire said its MasterCard investment grew to 405,000 shares at the end of June from 216,000 shares at the end of March.

Wells Fargo has long been one of Berkshire's bigger stock holdings. At the end of June, Berkshire's stake grew to 352.3 million shares, up 9.7 million from 342.6 million shares in March.

Buffett publicly praised Kraft's plan to split itself into two companies that was announced earlier this month. Monday's filing revealed Berkshire sold about 5.7 million of its Kraft shares earlier this summer. At the end of June, Berkshire held 99.5 million Kraft shares.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns clothing, insurance, furniture, utility, natural gas pipeline, brick, railroad, carpet, jewelry and corporate jet companies.



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