Analyst Note| Greggory Warren, CFA |
Wide-moat rated Berkshire Hathaway has been fairly quiet about its gradual exiting of its long-held stake in Wells Fargo, having sold off another 51.7 million shares (for an estimated $1.8 billion) during the March quarter. This marked the fourth straight quarter of meaningful sales of shares of the bank, which at one time had been a prized holding--a stake CEO Warren Buffett even tried several times over the years to increase above the 10% bank ownership limit for non-bank entities. At this point, it looks like Bank of America, which has not been mired in the scandals that have plagued Wells Fargo, will be at the forefront of Berkshire's bank holdings, accounting for 14.5% of the insurer's $270.4 billion 13-F portfolio at the end of March. In just the past year, Berkshire has either winnowed down or eliminated stakes in Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial, M&T Bank, US Bancorp, and Bank of New York Mellon, all while adding to its stake in Bank of America. Even so, Apple remains Berkshire's top holding, accounting for 40.1% of the portfolio at the end of the first quarter.