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Berkshire Hathaway increases stake in Kroger while paring drug holdings

Berkshire Hathaway increases stake in Kroger while paring drug holdings

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Kroger (copy)

Kroger is the parent company of Baker’s Supermarkets.

Warren Buffett confirms that Abel, who oversees the company's non-insurance operations, will run the company when Buffett steps down someday

Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett’s company has again increased the size of its bet on grocery giant Kroger, while scaling back several of its health care industry investments.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in a quarterly update with regulators Monday that it picked up almost 11 million shares of Kroger stock during the second quarter, raising its holdings to 61.8 million shares. Buffett’s company has been steadily adding to its Kroger holdings in recent quarters.

Berkshire also sold off its 643,022 shares of biotechnology firm Biogen and cut its investments in drugmakers Merck, Abbvie Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. At the same time, Berkshire reported a new 1.6 million-share stake in Merck spinoff Organon & Co.

During the quarter, Berkshire also sold its almost 14 million shares of paint-maker Axalta Coating Systems.

Many investors follow the company’s investments closely because of Buffett’s remarkably successful track record.

But Berkshire officials don’t generally comment on these quarterly filings. And the filing doesn’t make clear which investments Buffett made. The billionaire handles the biggest investments in Berkshire’s portfolio, such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Bank of America. He has said investments of less than $1 billion are likely to be the work of Berkshire’s two other investment managers.

Berkshire also reduced its stake in General Motors by 7 million shares to 60 million shares. And it trimmed its holdings in Chevron, US Bancorp, professional services firm Marsh & McLennan and media company Liberty Global.

The biggest investments in Berkshire’s portfolio, Apple and Bank of America, remained unchanged in the second quarter.

Besides investments, Omaha-based Berkshire owns more than 90 companies outright, including BNSF Railway Co., Geico and several major utilities. The conglomerate also owns manufacturing, furniture, shoe, jewelry, chocolate, underwear and brick companies.


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