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Buffett's Berkshire Adds Dollar General Stake, But Warren Probably Didn't Do the Buying

Warren Buffett
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Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway added a new stake in Dollar General during the second quarter.

At just $48 million, however, the relatively small size of the 1.5 million share stake (as of June 30) indicates Buffett himself did not pull the 'buy' trigger.

He has said his stock moves are usually a billion dollars or more.

Berkshire's new portfolio manager Todd Combs may have made the decision.

Berkshire's just-released snapshot of its U.S. common stock portfolio also lists 2.1 million shares of Verisk Analytics that weren't included in Berkshire's Q1 filing. That's 1.3 percent of Verisk's outstanding shares.

But what looks like a new stake in the New Jersey-based risk assessment company isn't new at all.

When Verisk went public in October of 2009, Berkshire already had an ownership stake that was not sold in the IPO. (Several other insurance company co-owners did sell their shares at that time.)

That stake has been in the form of Class B shares that don't trade publicly. As a result, they have not been included in previous 13-F filings, because only positions in publicly-traded stocks have to be disclosed.

According to the Verisk's web site, however, a chunk of Class B shares were converted in April to Class A shares. The A shares do trade publicly on the Nasdaq, and so we're only now seeing the $68 million position included in Berkshire's filing. (Thanks to the Rational Walk's tweeter for pointing this out.)

Other changes listed in Berkshire's latest 13-F filed with the SEC:

  • Berkshire's MasterCard stake increased between March 31 and June 30 by 189,000 shares to 405,000 shares. That's an increase of 88 percent. The increased stake is worth $136 million at today's close, also an indication that it wasn't a Buffett decision. (Again, Todd Combs is my best guess.)

  • Berkshire's massive Wells Fargo stake edged 3 percent higher with the addition of 9.7 million shares. Its 352.3 million share stake is valued at $8.8 billion at today's close.

  • Tonight's 13-F also reveals a 5 percent decrease in Berkshire's holdings of Kraft Foods , bringing that stake down by 5.7 million shares to 99.5 million. It's worth $3.4 billion tonight.

Finally, for the second consecutive quarter, Berkshire's filing says that "confidential information has been omitted" and provided separately to the SEC. That could be a sign of a major move in the works that Buffett doesn't want revealed until he's done, to ward off copycat buyers or sellers.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

Class B:

Class A:

An earlier version of this post said that Berkshire Hathaway's position in Verisk was new and had been added during the second quarter of this year. In fact, it was an existing non-trading stake that now has to be disclosed due to its conversion into publicly trading shares.

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