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Buffett's Berkshire sells additional 560,000 Moody's shares

Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett talks with a reporter at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha May 1, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has sold another 560,000 shares of credit ratings company Moody’s Corp, less than two weeks after selling an additional 1.35 million.

The latest sale was conducted by Berkshire’s National Indemnity Co insurance unit, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. It took place on Sept. 20 at an average price of $25.73 per share, generating gross proceeds of about $14.4 million.

Following the sale, Berkshire still controlled 28.87 million Moody’s shares, or 12.3 percent. That, however, is down from the 48 million shares, or close to 20 percent, Berkshire had held between 2000 and July 2009, when it began reducing its stake.

The remaining 28.87 million shares are owned by National Indemnity or Berkshire’s Geico Corp auto insurance unit, Wednesday’s filing shows.

Moody’s has been faulted for its ratings, which critics say contributed to the global financial crisis.

Buffett, however, had maintained the company enjoys a good business model that requires low capital investment.

Testifying in June before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, he also said rating agencies and others had been lulled by the “narcotic” of rising home prices. “It was the granddaddy of all bubbles,” Buffett said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Anshuman Daga)

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