Berkshire Hathaway Reveals Stake in U.S. Bancorp

Billionaire Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway revealed Wednesday that it bought $774.3 million in U.S. Bancorp stock last year, adding to the bank holdings already in the company's $52.8 billion stock portfolio.

The documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are the first to mention Berkshire's 23.31 million shares of U.S. Bancorp, which claims to be the sixth-largest bank in the nation with $219 billion in assets and 2,472 offices. Berkshire already owned sizable stakes in Wells Fargo and M&T Bank .

Buffett's assistant Debbie Bosanek said Berkshire does not comment on its holdings beyond what the company is legally required to reveal.

Berkshire owned 204 million shares of Wells Fargo stock, worth about $7.3 billion, as of Dec. 31. Wells Fargo has $482 billion in assets and more than 6,000 banks.

On Dec. 31, Berkshire held 6.7 million shares of M&T Bank Corp. worth about $819.5 million. That bank holding company had more than $57 billion in assets and more than 650 branches at the end of last year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission allowed Berkshire to delay revealing its holdings in U.S. Bank's parent company until Wednesday even though the Omaha-based holding company, or one of its more than 60 subsidiaries, began buying the stock early last year.

Berkshire owned 6.11 million shares of U.S. Bancorp stock on March 31, 2006. That increased to 23.31 million shares by Sept. 30 and did not change by the end of the year.

Buffett's company regularly asks the Securities and Exchange Commission for the ability not to disclose its holdings immediately because the information could hurt its trading strategy because the market likes to follow what the "Oracle of Omaha's" company does.

Berkshire cut its stake in Ameriprise Financial Inc., according to the filings. Berkshire held 8.27 million shares of Ameriprise, worth about $450.7 million, as of Dec. 31. That is down from 19.26 million shares Berkshire held as of Sept. 30.