May 26, 2024

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold off another roughly 115 million shares of Apple. But the Oracle of Omaha still sees Apple as a critical part of Berkshire’s portfolio.

Berkshire’s holdings in Apple were valued at $135.4 billion for first quarter of 2024, a 22% drop from $174.3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2023, according to its first-quarter earnings report released Saturday. It was the second consecutive quarter that the conglomerate has reduced its holdings of the iPhone maker.

Apple’s share price fell 11% in the quarter, as the tech giant endured a rough start to 2024.

Given those figures, Berkshire sold roughly 13% of its holdings in the company last quarter, leaving it with about 790 million Apple shares.

But Buffett said during the morning question-and-answer session at Berkshire’s annual shareholder conference on Saturday that it’s “extremely likely” that Apple remains Berkshire’s largest common stock holding — and that it will stay that way unless something dramatic happens.

“Unless something really extraordinary happens, we will own Apple, and American Express, and Coca-Cola when Greg takes over this place,” the 93-year-old Buffett said, referring to Greg Abel, his handpicked successor.

Berkshire reported that its American Express stake was worth $34.5 billion last quarter, and its Coca-Cola holdings were worth $24.5 billion. Chevron and Bank of America were also in the company’s top five holdings, with stakes valued at $19.4 billion and $39.2 billion, respectively.

Read more: Warren Buffett on Berkshire Hathaway selling Apple stock, AI, and life after Charlie Munger

Apple CEO Tim Cook was in the auditorium during Saturday’s Q&A session. He suggested that the sale may have been to avoid higher taxes, if the federal government decides to increase tax rates.

“It doesn’t bother me in the least to write that check, and I would really hope with all that America’s done for all of you, it shouldn’t bother you that we do it,” Buffett said. “And if I’m doing it at 21% this year, and we’re doing it a little higher percentage later on, I don’t think you’ll actually mind the fact that we sold a little Apple this year.”

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire added $21 billion in cash and Treasuries to its pile, bringing it to a record $189 billion last quarter — a 13% increase in just three months.

In the same quarter, Berkshire offloaded a net $17 billion worth of stocks and bought back $2.6 billion worth of its own stock, up from $2.2 billion in the prior quarter.

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