* Raises DirecTV stake 15 pct, DaVita stake 33 pct
* Takes new stakes in Archer Daniels Midland, VeriSign
Feb 14 Warren Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire
Hathaway took a new stake in agribusiness heavyweight
Archer Daniels Midland Co in the fourth quarter and
added to positions in old favorites like Wal-Mart Stores Inc
, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.
Many of the investment decisions were made not by Buffett
himself but by his two investment managers, Ted Weschler and
Todd Combs. Buffett has said only the changes in Berkshire's
biggest positions, like adding to holdings of Wal-Mart or Wells
Fargo, were made by him.
The portfolio was again active this quarter, with a number of
large moves in a wide variety of stocks. While Buffett is the
exemplar of buy-and-hold investing, he has indicated that at
least one of the team of Weschler and Combs is inclined to trade
more actively from quarter to quarter.
Besides buying about 6 million shares of ADM -- a stock that
could appeal to Buffett's farmer son Howard -- Berkshire also
added a new position of about 3.7 million shares in Internet
registry manager Verisign Inc.
Otherwise, Berkshire raised stakes in a number of old
favorites. It added 33 percent more of dialysis clinic operator
DaVita, raised its position in satellite broadcaster
DirecTV by 15 percent and added almost 27 percent to its
stake in National Oilwell Varco.
Buffett added about 1.7 percent to the Wal-Mart position,
and just over 4 percent to the stake in Wells Fargo, his
Berkshire also reduced some positions, slashing its stake in
one-time portfolio stalwart Johnson & Johnson by another
34 percent and its position in newspaper publisher Lee
Enterprises by 92 percent.
In the third quarter, Berkshire sold retailers and consumer
heavyweight stocks but took new positions in industrial
manufacturers like Deere & Co and Precision Castparts
. Deere is the world's largest agricultural equipment
maker. Precision Castparts' castings are used in every jet
aircraft engine program in production or under development.
It also took a position in Wabco Holdings, which
makes braking and transmission products for the commercial truck
market, and raised its stake by 50 percent in the automaker
In the third quarter Berkshire cut its long-time holding in
Johnson & Johnson by 95 percent and also trimmed its Procter &
Gamble position by another 11 percent.
J&J was one of Berkshire's biggest investments by valuation
over the last five years, but Buffett sold it aggressively in
2012, telling CNBC in February the company "has messed up in a
lot of ways" in the recent past.