Business

Warren 'Mr Moneybags' Buffett offloads huge chunk of IBM investment

Is the Oracle of Omaha cutting his losses?

By Kat Hall

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Legendary investor Warren Buffett appears to be cutting his losses on his IBM investment, slashing his shares by one-third in the last quarter.

Going against his own received wisdom of not buying stakes in companies he doesn't understand, Buffett revealed in 2011 that he had amassed a 5.5 per cent share in IBM during that year.

However, during the last quarter, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway offloaded one-third of its shares, according to its latest regulatory filing.

As of the latest November filing, Berkshire owned 37 million shares of IBM, worth about $5.5bn (£4.1bn), down from 54.1 million shares worth $8.32bn filed the previous quarter.

Berkshire Hathaway has slowly being shedding its IBM stake this year. Back in March it owned 64 million shares, but now appears to be offloading them at a sharper rate.

At the start of 2011, IBM stock opened at around $187 per share, today they are worth $148 – down roughly 20 per cent since Buffett first made his investment.

But the "Oracle of Omaha" is not the only one disillusioned with the business, which is in its 22nd consecutive quarter of decline.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that IBM's own pension fund had shed most of its shares. The fund's February 2017 SEC filing records it as holding 82,802 shares, and by May it had reduced that holding to 12,451 shares.

On the back of the Buffett divestment, IBM's shares dipped 1.1 per cent to $147.19 before bouncing back 0.9 per cent to $148.3

Buffett is a notable for his frugal habits despite having a personal wealth of $80bn. He has pledged to give away 99 per cent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ®

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