Buffett's Berkshire boosts American, Southwest airline bets; sheds Fox
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N: Quote) on Monday said it added to its sizable investments in American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O: Quote) and Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N: Quote), and shed its stake in Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O: Quote).
In a regulatory filing, Berkshire said that in the first quarter its American stake grew 8 percent to 49.3 million shares worth $2.08 billion, while its Southwest stake grew 10 percent to 47.7 million shares worth $2.57 billion.
Berkshire also shed 8 percent of its holdings in Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N: Quote), ending March with 55 million shares worth $2.53 billion.
Buffett became one of the largest investors in American, Delta, Southwest and United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N: Quote) last year, reversing his disdain for an industry he once called a "death trap" for investors.
He told shareholders at Berkshire's annual meeting on May 6 that airlines' business model had improved, with fewer unsold seats and an ability to charge for checked bags, seat choices and other amenities that were once free.
Berkshire's sale of its $251 million Fox stake came several months after the parent of Fox News became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, but before news surfaced that the network and top-rated host Bill O'Reilly paid about $13 million to settle harassment claims by five women.
O'Reilly left Fox last month.
It is unclear why Berkshire sold Fox or who made the investment, which began in 2014. Continued...