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Money News

Why is Warren Buffett Buying Up Shares of Berkshire Hathaway?

November 06, 2018

1 min read

Berkshire Hathaway, the international conglomerate owned by Warren Buffett, often purchases shares in companies it believes will be valuable over time.

But now, instead of buying shares of another company, Berkshire seems to be taking a bet on itself by purchasing approximately $1 billion worth of its own stock.

Confused? We explain it:

Why is Berkshire Hathaway buying its own shares?

After ten years of a bull market and ever-increasing stock prices, Buffett is buying his company’s own shares because he doesn’t see value anywhere else, according to some industry experts.

Berkshire has shown some eye-popping profits this quarter. It’s reported that profits increased 351% to $18.5 billion compared to the same quarter a year ago. (In recent months, however, its earnings have suffered from a change in accounting rules that require it to book losses for stocks it owns but does not sell.)

Buffett doesn’t take crazy bets on the companies or stock he buys. He’s known as a value investor—buying companies like Duracell or Benjamin Moore paints, or taking large positions in big companies whose stock price is relatively low, and that he thinks will increase in value over time.

For example, it has enormous stock ownership positions, worth billions, in dozens of well-known public companies.

The last time Berkshire Hathaway repurchased its own stock was 2012, according to reports, and it hasn’t made a big acquisition of another company since 2015, when it purchased an aerospace parts maker called Precision Castparts Corp. for $32 billion.

Buffett is one of the wealthiest investors in the world, worth an estimated $90 billion.

Wait, what’s a stock buyback?

A stock buyback is when a public company buys its own shares on the stock market.

Companies buy their own shares for several reasons: One is to boost the value of their own company shares. Think about it in terms of your old economics classes, when you learned about supply and demand. When there is less of something that people want, the price of that something increases.

Companies have increasingly bought their own shares in recent years as a way to reward their own investors. As they buy back their shares, it tends to increase the value of the outstanding shares.

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By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

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