BOSTON (Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway increased its exposure to media companies significantly in the fourth quarter, adding a new position in Liberty Media and substantially raising its stake in DirecTV, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.
The changes at least partly reflect the influence of Todd Combs, the investment manager Berkshire brought on to oversee part of its portfolio and help succeed Warren Buffett.
The conglomerate’s investing appetite has expanded under Combs, with additions in technology, retail and most recently media. Buffett has not traditionally favored these investment sectors, preferring financials, consumer goods or industrials.
Berkshire raised its stake in satellite broadcaster DirecTV nearly five-fold, taking a position of nearly $1 billion that would make it one of the 10 largest shareholders in the company.
It also bought about 1.7 million shares in Liberty Media, veteran dealmaker John Malone’s media venture which has stakes in everything from baseball teams and satellite radio to bookstores and cable networks.
Berkshire’s quarter was also notable for a number of large moves. It raised its stake in at least five companies by more than 20 percent, including recent newcomers to the portfolio like Intel and General Dynamics. It also took a new stake in kidney dialysis provider DaVita.
In contrast, it slashed portfolio stalwart Johnson & Johnson by 23 percent. Berkshire had been its fifth-largest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data. It also sold its entire position in oil major Exxon Mobil.
Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Michael Perry