Then there is The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO), a leading beverage producer. At the end of the fourth quarter 11 billionaires held shares of the company, the aggregate value of their stakes amounting to over $18 billion. However, the largest stake is held by Warren Buffett, with Berkshire reporting a $16.89 billion position that amasses 400.00 million shares. Therefore, other billionaire investors hold much smaller positions. Ken Fisher’s Fisher Asset Management reported ownership of 10.16 million shares, followed by David E. Shaw with 5.57 million shares.
Earlier last year, The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) reported a decrease in its net income, despite revenue growth. However, the company also intended to conduct some cost-cutting activities, such as refranchising of its bottling facilities in North America. Overall, through cost-cuttings, The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) plans to save around $3 billion per year within the next four years.
Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO) was also a stock watched by billionaires, as investors have been preparing for a merger between Lorillard and Reynolds American, Inc. (NYSE:RAI). Even though the merger was approved by shareholders over a year ago, both companies still trade independently. Moreover, the last financial report showed that Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO) has successfuly implemented its cost-cutting strategy, which allowed the company to report an impressive 16% annual growth in net income to $0.91, on a modest revenue growth of $1.76 billion from $1.74 billion.
Two billionaires betting on Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO) at the end of the fourth quarter are Daniel S. Och, with OZ Management doubling its position to 4.37 million shares, and James Dinan, whose fund York Capital reported ownership of 2.62 million shares.
In Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc (NYSE:CCE), a total of nine billionaire investors disclosed long equity positions. The official partner of the Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe managed to beat estimates for earnings, even though its sales volumes have stayed weak, and the company had to revise downwards its earnings outlook in 2014, citing competitive pressure and the macroeconomic situation. Therefore, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc (NYSE:CCE)’s profitability was mainly due to its cost-cutting initiatives, and for 2014 the revenue appreciated to $8.26 billion from $8.21 billion a year ago, while net income went up to $2.66 per share, from $2.44.
Nevertheless, Farallon Capital founded by billionaire Thomas Steyer has a significant portion of his fund’s equity portfolio invested in Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc (NYSE:CCE). At the end of 2014, Farallon Capital held 4.74 million shares, valued at $209.38 million and equal to 2.85% of the fund’s equity portfolio. Moreover, billionaire Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global initiated a stake with 3.24 million shares during the October-December period.