Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought nearly $1 billion in shares of Activision Blizzard in Q4 2021, weeks before the video game maker agreed sell itself to Microsoft for $75 billion.
The vast industry group, which manages a stock portfolio worth hundreds of billions of dollars, has revealed its purchase of 14.7 million shares of Activision in a securities filing end of Monday.
Invest in a game maker, such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty featured in a quarter in which Berkshire made relatively small adjustments to its holdings. The $703 billion conglomerate has struggled to identify attractive investments in recent years.
It’s not clear whether the Activision stock purchase was made by Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive officer, or if it was directed by Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, his two investment men.
Activision’s stock price is up 23% this year, outpacing the broader market, reflecting the premium Microsoft has agreed to pay to take over the company. This agreement will require approval from competition regulators and Microsoft may commitment measures meant to address potential concerns.
Berkshire’s shares were reported as of December 31 at a value of $975 million. With Activision stock’s closing price of $81.50 on Monday, the shares would be worth nearly $1.2 billion. It was not disclosed whether Buffett’s team still holds a stake in the video game maker.
Buffett is likely to provide updates on Berkshire’s investments when his company releases its shareholder letter and closely watched annual report in late February.
Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder who was Buffett’s bridge partner, step down from the Berkshire board in March 2020. Buffett resignation from the board of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charity, last year after Bill Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates announced their divorce.
Berkshire’s board of directors changed again on Monday after the company in particular Tom Murphy, a longtime executive, has decided to step down. Murphy is the former chief executive officer of television station owner Capital Cities/ABC, which later merged with Disney, and has been on the board since 2003.
The company said Murphy, 96, is recovering from Covid-19 and feels that he will be “more comfortable when he concludes his activities at Berkshire”.
“Murphy has taught me more about running a business than anyone else,” says Buffett. “We’ve been friends and spiritual partners for more than 50 years.”
Berkshire’s stock filing on Monday also showed it continued to sell off investments in several pharmaceutical companies in the final months of 2021. It has stepped down from its position in generic drugmaker Teva. and also sold more than 70% of its remaining shares in AbbVie and Bristol-Myers Squibb.