Warren Buffett’s video game bet wins jackpot

Warren Buffett’s company placed a rare bet on a tech company late last year and it has already paid off.

Berkshire Hathaway revealed in filings with regulators on Monday that it bought nearly 15 million shares in games publisher Activision Blizzard in the last three months of 2021.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett has found strength again.Credit:Bloomberg

The purchase came shortly before Microsoft announced in January that it was acquiring Activision for $68.7 billion ($96.4 billion), pushing the stock higher. Activision shares are up 22.5% so far this year.

Berkshire estimated that its 14.7 million shares in Activision Blizzard, the maker of candy Crush and Call of Dutywere worth around $975 million at the end of 2021. As of Monday’s close of business in New York, they were worth $1.19 billion.

Investing in Buffett’s company was a surprising move by the famous tech-averse investor. Buffett has long avoided investing in tech companies because he says it’s too difficult for him to pick long-time winners in this sector.

Other changes to Berkshire’s roughly $330 billion portfolio revealed on Monday were more typical for Buffett, such as increasing an investment in oil giant Chevron, eliminating a stake in Teva Pharmaceuticals and trimming of its investments in several other drug manufacturers.

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Buffett and other Berkshire officials do not comment on these quarterly stock filings, and the reports do not indicate whether either of Berkshire’s other two investment managers made the decision. Buffett typically manages all of the company’s major investments worth more than $1 billion each, such as its major holdings in Apple, Bank of America and Coca-Cola, so the size of the investment from Activision Blizzard suggests that Buffett made that decision.

Berkshire continued to rebuild its Chevron investment in the fourth quarter by buying nearly 10 million shares, but the 38.2 million share stake remains below the 48.5 million shares it held in the first revelation of the investment a year ago. Berkshire sold much of its Chevron investment in the first half of last year.

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