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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Sells Lots of Kraft (And Other Stocks) in First Quarter

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway sold a lot of stock during the first three months of the year, including more than 31 million shares of Kraft Foods . The Kraft shares sold would be worth almost a billion dollars at today's closing price of $30.55.

That 22.8 percent reduction in Berkshire's stake comes amid Buffett's outspoken criticism in January of Kraft and CEO Irene Rosenfeld for using stock he saw as undervalued to acquire Cadbury's.

After the Q1 sales, Berkshire owned 106,734,745 Kraft shares as of March 31, remaining Kraft's largest shareholder, with 6.3 percent of the company's shares outstanding.

In a January 20 interview with CNBC, he told us he would have voted against the Cadbury deal given the opportunity, but passed up opportunities to say he might sell some stock in protest:

JOE KERNEN: There's another way to vote, Warren, and that's with your feet. Is that what you're telling us you're going to do.

BUFFETT: That gets expensive. (Laughs.) Well, if I don't like what's going on in the government, that doesn't mean I have to leave the country either, Joe.

Kraft's stock rallied by about 10 percent during the first quarter

Berkshire has also been raising money to pay for its now-completed $26 billion acquisition of the freight railroad Berkshire Hathaway Santa Fe.

It continued to sell shares of many companies that had also seen their stakes reduced in the fourth quarter, although the Q1 cuts are generally smaller than the Q4 drops.

Berkshire's 13-F filing with the SEC shows that as of March 31, 2010, stakes were completely eliminated for:

  • Sun Trust Banks
    Berkshire held 2,398,206 shares as of December 31 after selling 681,572 shares, 22 percent of its Q3 stake, during the fourth quarter.

  • Travelers
    Berkshire held 27,336 shares as of December 31.

  • United Health
    Berkshire held 1,175,000 shares as of December 31 after selling 2,225,000 shares, 65 percent of its Q3 stake, during the fourth quarter.

  • Wellpoint
    Berkshire held 1,343,820 shares as of December 31 after selling 2,050,393 shares, 60 percent of its Q3 stake, during the fourth quarter.

Holdings were reduced for:

  • Carmax
    Sold 274,100 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 3.4 percent. Berkshire had cut its holdings by 1 million shares (-11.1%) during the fourth quarter.

  • ConocoPhillips
    Sold 3,532,081 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 9.4 percent. Berkshire had cut its holdings by 19.7 million shares (-34.3%) during the fourth quarter.

  • Costco
    Sold 920,637 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 17.5 percent. No sales during fourth quarter.

  • Gannett
    Sold 461,969 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 21.0 percent. Berkshire had cut its holdings by 1,245,400 shares (-36.1%) during the fourth quarter.

  • Johnson & Johnson
    Sold 3,241,019 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 11.9 percent. Berkshire had cut its holdings by 9,782,166 shares (-26.5%) during the fourth quarter.

  • M&T Bank
    Sold 1,151,779 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 17.2 percent. No sales during fourth quarter.

  • Moody's
    Sold 1,030,734 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 3.2 percent, as previously reported. Berkshire had cut its stake by 7,404,702 shares (-18.9%) during the fourth quarter.

  • Procter and Gamble (as foreshadowed in BRK's quarterly earnings report a few days ago)
    Sold 8,406,627 shares during first quarter, reducing stake by 9.6 percent. Berkshire had sold 8,812,599 shares (-9.1%) during the fourth quarter.

Berkshire increased its stakes in:

  • Becton Dickinson
    Bought 244,128 shares during first quarter, increasing stake by 16.3 percent. Berkshire had bought 300,000 shares (+25.0%) during the fourth quarter.

  • Iron Mountain
    Bought 794,800 shares during first quarter, increasing stake by 11.4 percent. Berkshire had bought 3,627,800 shares (+107.6%) during the fourth quarter.

  • Republic Services
    Bought 2,537,200 shares during first quarter, increasing stake by 30.6 percent. Berkshire had bought 4,665,500 shares (+128.7%) during the fourth quarter.

After all those sales, the total value of Berkshire's U.S. stock portfolio declined by 12.1 percent to $50.9 billion at the end of the quarter, compared to $57.9 billion at the end of last year.

CNBC.com's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker has been updated with the new data.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

Class B:

Class A:

For more Buffett Watch updates follow alexcrippen on Twitter.

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