Warren Buffett Bets Big on Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Liberty Global (LBTYK) & Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)

May 15 marked the end of the first round of 13F filings of 2014. Most of the big institutional investors have filed yesterday their 13F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing their equity portfolios as at the end of March. One of the most notorious investors, Warren Buffet, was also among the filers, with his fund, Berkshire Hathaway disclosing an equity portfolio worth $105.77 billion, up from $104.84 billion held at the end of last year.

Berkshire Hathaway is know for its long-term commitment to its largest investments. That’s why the top largest holdings from Mr. Buffett’s equity portfolio have remained unchanged, being represented by Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) (463.46 million shares), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) (400 million shares) and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) (151.61 million shares). However, Mr. Buffett has made some interesting moves during the first three months of the year, adding two positions to Berkshire’s equity portfolio, and raising exposure to several other companies.

hedge funds vs. mutual funds

The largest new position disclosed by Berkshire is a $524.35 million stake in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). The holding amasses around over 11 million shares. With an almost $199 billion market cap, Verizon is one of the largest company in the industry of Telecommunications services. Interstengly many major investors expressed their interest in Verizon during the first quarter. Managed by Alex Snow, Lansdowne Partners also initiated a stake, which contains 13.48 million shares, worth $641.04 million. Christian Leone‘s Luxor Capital Group and Dan Loeb‘s Third Point disclosed new positions, which contain 4.31 million and 3.50 million shares respectively.

Another new position is represented by Liberty Global plc – Class C Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYK). Buffett already held around 2.90 million Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA), and he surged his ownership of Class A shares as well, by around 150%. Now, Berkshire owns approximately 7.35 million  of each  Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA) and Liberty Global plc – Class C Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYK) shares. Bill Gates, a close friend of Warren Buffett also recently revealed slightly upping his share of Liberty Global plc – Class A Ordinary Shares (NASDAQ:LBTYA), currently holding around 10.86 million shares.

Another interesting play that we should mention involves Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). Berkshire Hathaway upped its stake in the company by around 8.57 million shares, to 58.05 million shares, with a total value of $4.44 billion. Following the increase, Wal-Mart is now the fifth largest holding in Berkshire’s equity portfolio. With a market cap of around $250 billion, Wal-Mart is one of the largest companies among Variety Retailers, and trails a P/E of 15.80, slightly below the industry average of 17.50. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust is also a shareholder of Wal-Mart, owning some 11.6 million shares, worth $886.82 million as of the end of the first quarter.

Disclosure: none

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