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“There’s speculation about us buying control, we’re not going to buy control,” the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ said at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting. “We wouldn’t know what to do with it.”
In August last year, Berkshire received regulatory approval to purchase as much as a 50% stake. Since then, Buffett has been steadily adding to his bet, including this year, boosting the conglomerate’s stake in the Houston-based energy producer to 23.5%. The moves had fueled speculation that the 92-year-old investor could acquire the whole company.
“We will not be making any offer for control of Occidental, but we love the shares we have,” Buffett said. “We may or may not own more in the future but we certainly have warrants on what we got on the original deal on a very substantial amount of stock around $59 a share, and warrants last a long time, and I’m glad we have them.”
Berkshire owns $10 billion of Occidental preferred stock, and has warrants to buy another 83.9 million common shares for $5 billion, or $59.62 each. The warrants were obtained as part of the company’s 2019 deal that helped finance Occidental’s purchase of Anadarko.
Shares of Occidental were down about 3% this year, after more than doubling in 2022. The stock was the best-performing name in the S&P 500 last year.
— CNBC’s Sarah Min contributed reporting.