Buffett Watch

No More Buffett Stock Secrets in Latest Berkshire Filing and the Stake that Didn't Double

Warren Buffett surprised everyone with his revelation yesterday on CNBC's Squawk Box that he'd bought almost $11 billion worth of IBM shares for Berkshire Hathaway over a period of at least eight months.

That bombshell was a surprise because Berkshire Hathaway didn't include the accumulating shares in its stock portfolio snapshot SEC filings for the end of the and quarters.

We did know that something was being kept secret because both those filings included this line: "Confidential information has been omitted from the Form 13F and filed separately with the Commission."

In our Warren Buffett Watch post on the Q2 filing we noted the "confidential information" line and speculated it "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."

That "major move" turned out to be the IBM buying spree, revealed publicly both on CNBC and in last night's 13F filing for the end of the third quarter.

So why did the "confidential information has been omitted" line also show up in that Q3 filing?

Could there be another secret stock move Buffett and Berkshire were trying to keep away from the copycats?

The answer is no.

Less than an hour after we asked Berkshire if the "confidential information" language was supposed to be in the Q3 filing or whether it might have been left over from the Q2 filing, we got what appears to be the answer.

Berkshire filed this amendment of last night's 13F.  The line about confidential information being omitted, is, this time, omitted.

So, at least as of September 30, Berkshire didn't have any new stock secrets to keep.

We'll keep watching to see if "confidential information has been omitted reappears in a future 13F.

UPDATE: Along with the removal of the confidential information language, there is another change in today's amended filing.

Berkshire now says it owned 2,101,125 shares of Verisk Analytics as of September 30, the same number of shares it reported as of June 30.

Last night's filing listed 4,202,250 shares, indicating Berkshire had doubled its stake.  So, we now know that Berkshire kept its Verisk stake steady during the third quarter.

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