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Investor Buffett Discloses His Snowflake Stake

By Will Healy – Sep 28, 2020 at 7:24PM

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The Oracle of Omaha holds 15.2% of the outstanding shares in the data cloud company.

Snowflake (SNOW 5.28%) has delivered an avalanche of potential profits for Warren Buffett.

Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A 2.46%) (BRK.B 2.68%), just disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the company had purchased more than 6.125 million shares in the data cloud giant.

Berkshire had previously disclosed a position in Snowflake prior to the IPO. Both Berkshire and earlier pledged matching investments of $250 million before the company went public.

We now know that Buffett and his investment team purchased an additional 4.04 million shares at the debut price of $120 per share from another investor. This takes Berkshire's total cost basis to just under $735 million, amounting to about 15.2% of Snowflake's outstanding shares.

Falling snowflakes on a blue background.

Image source: Getty Images

At Monday's closing price of $250.41 per share, this means Berkshire's stake is worth more than $1.5 billion, more than doubling the initial investment in less than two weeks.

Such a purchase is unusual for the Oracle of Omaha, who has long eschewed buying stocks in IPOs. As recently as his 2016 annual meeting, he dismissed this investment approach.

"You don't really have to worry about, you know, what's going on in IPOs, or people making money. People win lotteries every day, but there's no reason to have that affect you at all. You shouldn't be jealous about it," Buffett said.

Nonetheless, Buffett, now 90 years old, has turned over many of the investment decisions to his team. Many speculate that Ted Weschler and Todd Combs made this specific investment decision.

This isn't the first time Berkshire has departed from Warren Buffett's traditional investment approach in the last few years. Buffett famously avoided investing in the tech industry for much of his career. Today, Apple is now Berkshire Hathaway's largest holding. Amazon and StoneCo are among Buffett's other technology holdings.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Will Healy owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), and The Motley Fool owns shares of Stoneco LTD. The Motley Fool recommends Snowflake Inc and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $200 calls on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2021 $200 puts on Berkshire Hathaway (B shares), short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$423,489.10 (2.46%) $10,189.10
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Stock Quote
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
$280.12 (2.68%) $7.32
Snowflake Inc. Stock Quote
Snowflake Inc.
$181.61 (5.28%) $9.10

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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