Seeking Alpha
Long only, value, special situations, long-term horizon
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)

Warren Buffett made a big splash when he announced, on November 14, 2011, that Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) acquired a large position in International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), totaling 57.3 million shares at the end of the third quarter and 64 million shares as of November 14, or about 5.4 percent of IBM. This is now Berkshire’s second-largest investment, valued at about $12 billion, behind the 8.81 percent stake Berkshire hold in Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), valued at about $13.4 billion.

Berkshire’s 13F also includes several new positions, though not nearly as sizable. In fact, there are five equity additions to Berkshire’s holdings which total approximately $1 billion in market value, or an average of $200 million per investment. It can be presumed that these small (for Berkshire) yet still notable investments were made by Todd Combs, as Warren Buffett usually does not make investments of that size. Since all of them are worth around $200 million, they were almost certainly bought by Combs. Todd Combs was the CEO and director of Castle Point, a hedge fund, from 2005 until 2010, when Warren Buffett tapped Combs for the Berkshire team and as a potential primary investor successor to Buffett at Berkshire.

Below are the five new acquisitions by Berkshire Hathaway that appear to be investments made by Todd Combs, listed in alphabetical order. I have included the number of shares listed on Berkshire’s 13F and their approximate present market value, as well as each equity’s 1-month, 6-month and 2011-to-date performance. We do not know precisely when Combs made each of these investments for Berkshire, but only that they were made during the third quarter of 2011. Performance numbers do not include dividends paid, but only equity price appreciation/depreciation.

CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS)

  • Shares (value): 5,661,000 ($219 million)
  • 1-month: 8.60%
  • 6-month: 1.69%
  • 2011-to-date: 10.92%


  • Shares (value): 4,249,400 ($194 million)
  • 1-month: 2.0%
  • 6-month: -4.87%
  • 2011-to-date: 17.42%


  • Shares (value): 9,333,000 ($230 million)
  • 1-month: 5.62%
  • 6-month: 4.41%
  • 2011-to-date: 16.92%

General Dynamics (NYSE:GD)

  • Shares (value): 3,064,422 ($200 million)
  • 1-month: 5.65%
  • 6-month: 12.41%
  • 2011-to-date: -9.28%

Visa (NYSE:V)

  • Shares (value): 2,291,708 ($215 million)
  • 1-month: 1.94%
  • 6-month: 15.33%
  • 2011-to-date: 32.07%

Additionally, Berkshire’s filing indicates that it accumulated more shares in Dollar General (NYSE:DG). Berkshire now owns 4,497,247 shares, worth $176.5 million. These new purchases are also likely Todd Combs’ doing, given their size. Dollar general is up about 27 percent in 2011. See the comparison chart for these believed Combs investments, below:

Disclosure: I am long INTC.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative, and should not be construed as personalized advice, as it does not take into account your specific situation or objectives.

Source: Todd Combs's Q3 Acquisitions For Berkshire