Berkshire Trims General Motors Bet, Ramps Up Kroger Stake

(Bloomberg) — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. trimmed its investment in General Motors Co. for the third quarter in a row and pulled back on its pharmaceutical bets, while boosting a stake in Kroger Co.

The conglomerate’s GM investment was valued at $3.55 billion at the end of June, according to a regulatory filing Monday. Berkshire’s Kroger stake was up 21% during the second quarter, while the firm trimmed its bets on pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. The filing no longer showed a stake in Biogen Inc.

Berkshire has held General Motors shares for more than nine years, then pulled back on the investment in recent quarters. Buffett’s company cut its stake in the automaker about 10% during the second quarter even as the stock gained nearly 3% during the period. And the firm has dug even deeper into its Kroger bet in recent quarters after disclosing it last year.

The conglomerate also pared back some of its bets on pharmaceutical companies, many of which the company disclosed last year as the pandemic swept the U.S. But it isn’t retreating entirely: Berkshire’s quarterly filing disclosed one new investment, a holding in the firm that Merck & Co. spun off recently called Organon & Co. Berkshire had already owned shares of Merck, and held a roughly $712 million stake in the firm at the end of the second quarter.

The company also took its recent bets in the insurance brokerages in different directions. Berkshire trimmed its Marsh McLennan holding nearly 21% during the second quarter. Meanwhile, Buffett’s firm boosted its Aon Plc stake 7.3%. That broker recently canceled its planned $30 billion takeover of rival Willis Towers Watson Plc.

Berkshire, which was an overall net seller of stocks during the period, also pulled back on Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. with Monday’s filing no longer showing a stake in that company. The conglomerate’s Chevron Corp. holding was also down 2.3% with Berkshire still holding a roughly $2.42 billion stake in the firm at the end of the second quarter.

(Updates with Kroger details, brokerage bets, Axalta and Chevron starting in third paragraph.)

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