Warren Buffett Adds NRG Energy Stake, May Have Bet Against InBev's Bid for Anheuser-Busch


Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has added a new stake in NRG Energy , according to a just-released portfolio 'snapshot' of its holdings in U.S. publicly-traded stocks as of June 30.

At today's closing price of $35.22, the 3.2 million shares are worth about $113 million. NRG shares are down from a near-term high of about $44 in mid-June, so Buffett may have taken a short-term hit on his new holding in the Texas energy provider.

The Berkshire filing also says that some "confidential information" has been omitted from the portfolio listing, including information regarding Berkshire's position in ConocoPhillips . I assume that means Berkshire is adding to its position in Conoco, listed at 17.5 million shares worth $1.33 billion as of March 31, but there's no way to know for sure.

We also don't know if Conoco is the only stock included in the secret part of Berkshire's filing with the SEC. Buffett oftens gets permission to temporarily hold back information on some holdings to thwart 'copycats.'


Today's SEC filing does reveal additions to Berkshire's stakes in Sanofi Aventis and Ingersoll-Rand .

Berkshire's stake in Ingersoll soared more than 500 percent, from 937,000 shares on March 31 to 5.6 million shares on June 30. Some of those additional shares may have come from Ingersoll's purchase of Trane on June 5 in which it paid 0.23 of an IR shares plus $36.50 in cash for each Trane share.

The Sanofi stake increased by 8.8 percent, or 317,200 shares to 3.9 million shares.

(The number of Berkshire's Union Pacific shares doubled from the first quarter due to a 2-for-1 stock split in late May.)

On the other hand, reporting holdings of Anheuser-Busch fell sharply to 13.8 million shares as of June 30 from 35.6 million at the end of March. That may have been a bet against InBev's then-unsolicited bid to acquire the St. Louis brewer.

InBev initially revealed on June 11 that it was offering $65 a share for Anheuser. The shares soared at that point, even as Anheuser agressively moved to resist a takeover. There was a great deal of sentiment at the time in St. Louis and around the country that such an iconic American brand shouldn't be foreign-owned.

Bottled and draught Budweiser beers are shown Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005 at Foley's Bar in St. Louis.   Anheuser Busch is expected to report earning Wedneday after markets close. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
Tom Gannam
Bottled and draught Budweiser beers are shown Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005 at Foley's Bar in St. Louis. Anheuser Busch is expected to report earning Wedneday after markets close. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

My guess is that Buffett looked at the potential upside of a higher bid or friendly deal that would bring him incrementally more cash in the future, and found that it didn't outweigh the substantial risk that efforts to block the deal could prove successful. If the deal didn't happen, BUD's stock price would have dropped very sharply. Even if it did go through, there would probably be delays for antitrust reviews and the like.

That calculation would be consistent with selling almost two-thirds of the holdings after the initial InBev bid to 'lock-in' the higher price and get the cash right away. After all, $60-something in the hand is worth $70 in the Busch.

It was only after the end of the second quarter, on July 14, that Anheuser agreed to a friendly merger with InBev at the sweetened price of $70 a share.


Here are the details from tonight's Berkshire Hathaway portfolio snapshot as of June 30, compared to the filing for March 31.


  • NRG Energy added at 3,238,100 shares.


  • Ingersoll-Rand stake increased 501.8% to 5,636,600 shares from 936,600 shares.

  • Sanofi Aventis increased 8.8% to 3,903,933 shares from 3,586,733 shares.


  • Anhesuer-Busch stake decreased 61.4% to 13,845,000 shares from 35,563,200 shares.


  • American Express unchanged at 151,610,700 shares.

  • Bank of America unchanged at 9,100,000 shares.

  • Burlington Northern unchanged at 63,785,418 shares.

  • Carmax unchanged at 21,300,000 shares.

  • Coca-Cola unchanged at 200,000,000 shares.

  • Comcast unchanged at 12,000,000 shares.

  • Comdisco unchanged at 1,537,866 shares.

  • Costco Wholesale unchanged at 5,254,000 shares.

  • Gannett unchanged at 3,447,600 shares.

  • General Electric unchanged at 7,777,900 shares.

  • GlaxoSmithKline unchanged at 1,510,500 shares.

  • Home Depot unchanged at 4,181,000 shares.

  • Iron Mountain unchanged at 3,372,200 shares.

  • Johnson & Johnson unchanged at 61,754,448 shares.

  • Kraft Foods unchanged at 138,272,500 shares.

  • Lowes Companies unchanged at 7,000,000 shares.

  • M&T Bank unchanged at 6,715,060 shares.

  • Moody's unchanged at 48,000,000 shares.

  • Nike unchanged at 7,641,000 shares.

  • Norfolk Southern unchanged at 1,933,000 shares.

  • Procter & Gamble unchanged at 105,847,000 shares.

  • SunTrust Banks unchanged at 3,204,600 shares.

  • Torchmark unchanged at 2,823,879 shares.

  • US Bancorp unchanged at 68,631,026 shares.

  • USG unchanged at 17,072,192 shares.

  • Union Pacific unchanged at 8,906,000 split-adjusted shares (2-for-1 stock split on May 29).

  • United Parcel Service unchanged at 1,429,200 shares.

  • UnitedHealth Group unchanged at 6,400,000 shares.

  • Wabco Holdings unchanged at 2,700,000 shares.

  • Wal-Mart Stores unchanged at 19,944,300 shares.

  • Washington Post unchanged at 1,727,765 shares.

  • Wells Fargo unchanged at 290,654,868 shares.

  • Wellpoint unchanged at 4,800,000 shares.

  • Wesco Financial unchanged at 5,703,087 shares.


  • No disclosure for ConocoPhillips . Berkshire held 17,508,700 shares as of March 31. The filing for June 30 says "information regarding Berkshire Hathaway's position in ConocoPhillips" has been omitted from the public Form 13F and submitted to the SEC in a separate confidential filing.

  • Berkshire disclosed holding 10,901,900 shares of Trane as of March 31. Ingersoll-Rand completed its purchase of Trane on June 5, paying 0.23 of an IR share and $36.50 in cash for each Trane share.

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Questions? Comments? Email me at buffettwatch@cnbc.com