Warren Buffett's Berkshire Reduces Stake in Apple

Warren Buffett's investment conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, made headlines recently with its decision to sell off 10 million shares of Apple stock in the last quarter of 2023, marking a subtle shift in strategy for the firm.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Reduces Stake in Apple
© Getty Images/Kevin Dietsch

Warren Buffett's investment conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, made headlines recently with its decision to sell off 10 million shares of Apple stock in the last quarter of 2023, marking a subtle shift in strategy for the firm.

This sale, representing about 1% of Berkshire's holdings in Apple, underscores a notable move for a company that prizes long-term investments. The transaction was disclosed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, drawing widespread attention from investors and analysts alike.

Strategic Reductions Amidst Growth

The sale of Apple shares by Berkshire Hathaway might seem minor in the grand scheme of its vast portfolio, but it signals a thoughtful recalibration by the Omaha-based giant. Apple has been a cornerstone of Berkshire's investment strategy, deemed one of the "four giants" that drive the conglomerate's value, alongside its insurance, railroad, and energy ventures.

Despite this recent sale, Berkshire maintains a significant stake in Apple, with more than 905 million shares valued at approximately $174 billion. This still represents 6% of all Apple shares, underscoring the tech company's critical role in Berkshire's investment strategy.

Buffett, known for his adage about long-term stock ownership, has previously trimmed Berkshire's position in Apple, notably selling about $11 billion worth of stock in the second half of 2020—a move he later described as "probably a mistake." His admiration for Apple's management, particularly CEO Tim Cook, whom he lauded as "one of the best managers in the world," reflects the nuanced approach Berkshire takes in managing its investments.

Despite these adjustments, Buffett's strategy remains centered on investing in companies with robust business models and exceptional leadership.

Apple's Performance and Berkshire's Moves

Apple's financial health and market performance are closely watched by Berkshire Hathaway and the investment community.

Despite experiencing a year-on-year growth in sales during the December quarter, Apple has faced challenges, including four consecutive quarters of revenue declines prior to this rebound. The company's efforts to innovate, as demonstrated by the launch of the Vision Pro mixed reality headset, indicate a bold move towards defining the future of computing, despite current limitations and the competitive pressures, especially from the China region.

Berkshire's latest filing also revealed significant sales in other parts of its portfolio, including a reduction of 80 million shares in printer company HP and a 32% cut in its holdings in media company Paramount. These moves highlight the dynamic nature of Berkshire's investment strategy, continually adapting to market conditions and strategic priorities.

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