Buffett's Berkshire cuts crisis-era Goldman stake

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc BRKa.N on Monday said it reduced its stake in Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N by 13 percent during the third quarter, paring a successful investment it made during the height of the global financial crisis.

The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 11, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

In a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Berkshire said it owned 10.96 million Goldman shares worth about $1.9 billion as of Sept. 30, down from 12.63 million shares worth $2.64 billion three months earlier.

Buffett told CNBC television he sold the Goldman shares and 7 percent of his stake in Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N to help fund Berkshire's $31.7 billion takeover of aerospace parts maker Precision Castparts Corp PCP.N, not because he soured on either company.

The billionaire has long preferred that Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire own whole companies rather than individual stocks. Berkshire has close to 90 operating units such as the BNSF railroad, Dairy Queen ice cream and Geico insurance.

Goldman was not immediately available for comment.

Buffett also told CNBC he was selling investments in reinsurers Munich Re MUVGn.DE and Swiss Re SRENH.VX, and not selling securities as a result of Friday's attacks in Paris.

Goldman turned to Buffett for support a week after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc went bankrupt, prompting Berkshire to buy $5 billion in preferred stock plus warrants to purchase $5 billion of shares at $115 each.

After Goldman redeemed the preferred stock, Berkshire renegotiated the warrants, and acquired a smaller number of Goldman shares in a cashless transaction.

The sales of Goldman and Wal-Mart were disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing Berkshire’s $127.4 billion U.S. stock portfolio on Sept. 30.

Wells Fargo & Co WFC.N remained Berkshire's biggest stock holding, worth roughly $24.1 billion, followed by Kraft Heinz Co KHC.O at $23 billion.

H.J. Heinz Co’s purchase in July of Kraft Foods Group Inc transformed Berkshire’s 52.5 percent stake in Heinz into a 26.8 percent stake in Kraft Heinz.

Berkshire also increased its investments in cable TV operator Charter Communications Inc CHTR.O and automaker General Motors Co GM.N.

It reported a 59.32 million share stake in AT&T Inc T.N, which bought Berkshire investment DirecTV during the quarter.

Monday’s filing did not disclose who made which investments.

Smaller investments are often made by Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who may eventually succeed Buffett as Berkshire’s chief investment officers. Larger investments are typically Buffett’s.

Buffett, 85, has run Berkshire since 1965.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Bernadette Baum and W Simon