Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway hints at new purchase, ups Charter stake

Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:41pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote) on Friday said it boosted its stake in cable TV operator Charter Communications Corp (CHTR.O: Quote), and signaled it may have another large investment planned after agreeing to buy Precision Castparts Corp PCP.N in its largest-ever purchase.

Berkshire also appeared to have shed its stakes in oilfield equipment provider National Oilwell Varco Inc (NOV.N: Quote) and refiner Phillips 66 (PSX.N: Quote) in the second quarter, as the oil industry struggles with falling prices.

The changes were disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing Berkshire's $107.2 billion U.S. stock portfolio on June 30.

Berkshire kept some details about its holdings confidential. The SEC sometimes lets the Omaha, Nebraska-based company delay disclosures of new stakes so Buffett can build them quietly, rather than have investors piggyback on him before he finishes.

Friday's filing suggests that only a small percentage of the $3.09 billion of stock that Berkshire bought in the quarter went to companies it already owned.

Berkshire held 8.51 million shares of Charter worth $1.46 billion on June 30, up from 5.98 million shares on March 31.

It also confirmed its purchase of 20 million shares, or 8.7 percent, of paint maker Axalta Coating Systems Ltd (AXTA.N: Quote) from controlling shareholder Carlyle Group LP (CG.O: Quote).

Berkshire reported lower stakes in conglomerate Chicago Bridge & Iron Co (CBI.N: Quote), media company Viacom Inc (VIAB.O: Quote) and Wabco Holdings Inc (WBC.N: Quote), which sells braking and suspension systems for commercial vehicles.   Continued...

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett plays bridge during the Berkshire annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska May 3, 2015.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking