Buffett’s Berkshire sheds large portion of US Bancorp stake

FILE PHOTO: Allen and Co. Sun Valley Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho

(Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc, the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Thursday it has shed more than 91 million US Bancorp shares since the start of the year, reducing its stake in the fifth-largest U.S. bank by 63%.

In a regulatory filing, Berkshire said it owned just over 53 million U.S. Bancorp shares, for a 3.6% stake, on Oct. 31, down from 144.7 million shares, or 9.8%, on Dec. 31, 2021.

Berkshire began investing in the Minneapolis-based bank in 2006, according to regulatory filings.

It not did give a reason for the reduction or say if it has sold more stock in November. Buffett does not discuss his stock purchases and sales while they are ongoing.

U.S. Bancorp and Buffett’s assistant did not immediately respond to requests for comment after market hours.

Shares of U.S. Bancorp closed Thursday at $44.87. They have fallen 20% this year.

Banks and other financial services companies normally comprise a large percentage of Berkshire’s equity portfolio, which totaled $306.2 billion as of Sept. 30.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company ended September with a $31.2 billion stake in Bank of America Corp, the second-largest U.S. bank, and recently held large stakes in American Express Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

It has in recent years also held and sold multi-billion-dollar stakes in Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co.

Apple Inc is Berkshire’s largest common stock investment. Berkshire owned $126.5 billion of the iPhone maker’s shares on Sept. 30.

On Nov. 14, Berkshire is expected in a regulatory filing to disclose more information about its U.S.-listed stock holdings.

Buffett, 92, has run Berkshire since 1965. The conglomerate also owns several dozen companies including the BNSF railroad, Geico auto insurer, energy and industrial businesses, and consumer products such as Dairy Queen ice cream.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)