Buffett Adds More Apple, Reduces IBM Stake by Another Third


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Warren Buffett continued to trim a once-major investment in International Business Machines Corp. while adding to newer holding Apple Inc. in the third quarter.

The billionaire investor’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. lowered its IBM stake by about a third to 37 million shares as of Sept. 30, when it was valued at about $5.4 billion, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday. Berkshire boosted its holding in Apple by about 4 million shares.

In 2011, Buffett plowed more than $10 billion into IBM. The move shocked many, because the investor had long steered clear of technology stocks, saying they were outside his area of expertise. He defended the pick for years as Big Blue struggled with declining sales.

Earlier this year, he did an about-face, saying his thesis was flawed and began to cut back the holding.

The episode highlighted just how badly Buffett missed the boat on investing in the technology companies that have come to dominate the ranks of the world’s most valuable enterprises. At Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s annual meeting in May, he issued a mea culpa, adding that he “blew it” by failing to invest early in Google.

At the same time, he showed he’s learning. One of Berkshire’s major new holdings is an investment in Apple. The stake was initiated by one of Buffett’s deputy investment managers last year. Buffett has since plowed in. Berkshire’s holding in the iPhone maker was valued at about $21 billion at the end of September.

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