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T-MOBILE US

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Buffett's Berkshire bets on Big Pharma, invests in four drugmakers

11/16/2020 | 04:52pm EST

Nov 16 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Monday it has begun investing in the stocks of four large drugmakers, betting on an industry that could benefit when the world begins emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a regulatory filing detailing its U.S.-listed stock holdings as of Sept. 30, Berkshire disclosed $5.7 billion of new healthcare stakes, including more than $1.8 billion each in Abbvie Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Merck & Co and $136 million in Pfizer Inc.

Shares of the drugmakers rose in after-hours trading.

The filing signals where Buffett and his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler see value. Buffett normally handles large investments for Berkshire's $245.3 billion stock portfolio himself.

"COVID-19 has made us think differently about healthcare," said James Armstrong, president of Henry H. Armstrong & Associates in Pittsburgh, which owns Berkshire stock.

"The sector has become more efficient as big drug companies partner with smaller, inventive rivals," Armstrong added. "But you will always need companies with scale for manufacturing and distribution, including vaccines with global application."

Berkshire did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

During the third quarter, Berkshire also took a $276 million stake in wireless phone company T-Mobile US Inc.

It sold a $1.3 billion stake in Costco Wholesale Corp , which benefited as people stocked up on groceries and home supplies during the pandemic, and pared holdings in four banks: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC and M&T.

The stake in JPMorgan, where Combs is a director, fell by 96%.

Berkshire also bought more stock in the grocer Kroger , sold some stock in mining company Barrick Gold, and confirmed it bought more Bank of America stock while trimming its Apple stake.

The healthcare bet is structured similarly to the more than $6 billion wager that Buffett made on the four largest U.S. airlines.

Buffett sold Berkshire's airline holdings in April, saying the pandemic had changed the industry and made its outlook uncertain.

Other new investments in the quarter included a $6 billion stake in five Japanese trading houses and a $1.5 billion wager on newly public data storage company Snowflake Inc.

Berkshire also has more than 90 operating units including Geico car insurance, BNSF railroad and Dairy Queen ice cream. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Sandra Maler and Sam Holmes)


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
APPLE INC. 0.54% 127.83 Delayed Quote.-4.18%
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION -0.73% 32.77 Delayed Quote.8.91%
BARRICK GOLD CORPORATION 0.74% 29.81 Delayed Quote.1.59%
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. 0.61% 352473.99 Delayed Quote.0.72%
COSTCO WHOLESALE CORPORATION -2.12% 354.47 Delayed Quote.-5.92%
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. -0.43% 138.04 Delayed Quote.9.11%
KROGER -0.24% 33.62 Delayed Quote.5.86%
PFIZER INC. 0.08% 36.73 Delayed Quote.-0.22%
SNOWFLAKE INC. -1.75% 286.21 Delayed Quote.3.52%
T-MOBILE US 2.02% 129.85 Delayed Quote.-3.71%
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY 1.84% 32.63 Delayed Quote.8.12%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 67 444 M - -
Net income 2020 2 778 M - -
Net Debt 2020 66 930 M - -
P/E ratio 2020 49,6x
Yield 2020 -
Capitalization 161 B 161 B -
EV / Sales 2020 3,38x
EV / Sales 2021 2,95x
Nbr of Employees 53 000
Free-Float 47,2%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 29
Average target price 149,25 $
Last Close Price 129,85 $
Spread / Highest target 65,6%
Spread / Average Target 14,9%
Spread / Lowest Target -16,8%
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Managers and Directors
NameTitle
G. Michael Sievert President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Timotheus Höttges Chairman
Peter Osvaldik EVP, Chief Financial & Accounting Officer
Neville R. Ray President-Technology Department
Cody Sanford Executive VP & Chief Information & Product Officer
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