OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett’s company picked up another $368 million worth of Occidental Petroleum stock this week with a purchase of nearly 6 million shares to give it control of almost 21% of the oil producer.
These are the first purchases Berkshire Hathaway has made since regulators gave it approval last month to buy up to 50% of Occidental, but since February Buffett has been consistently buying shares of the Houston-based company any time they drop below $60 apiece.
Berkshire’s Occidental stake is now worth nearly $12 billion after its shares nearly doubled this year after Russia invaded Ukraine and oil prices soared. Occidental’s shares gained nearly 2% Thursday to sell for $62.52 after Berkshire disclosed its latest purchases in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate has bet heavily on the oil sector this year. Besides its Occidental purchases, Berkshire bought roughly $20 billion worth of Chevron shares.
Berkshire’s Occidental purchases have inspired speculation that Buffett might try to buy the entire company, but Buffett doesn’t generally comment on Berkshire’s stock purchases beyond what it is required to disclose. Many investors follow Buffett’s moves closely because of his remarkably successful track record over the decades.
Berkshire could quickly boost its Occidental stake because it holds warrants to buy another 83.9 million shares at $59.62 apiece. Buffett’s company also owns $10 billion worth of preferred Occidental shares that pay an $800 million annual dividend. It acquired both of those in 2019 when t helped finance Occidental’s acquisition of Anadarko.
In addition to investments, Berkshire owns more than 90 companies outright including BNSF railroad, Geico insurance, several major utilities and an eclectic assortment of other companies such as Dairy Queen, NetJets and Precision Castparts.