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Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Raises Occidental Stake to 29%

Berkshire Hathaway has recently bought another nearly 3 million shares in Occidental Petroleum, boosting its stake to almost 29%, Warren Buffett’s conglomerate said in an SEC filing this week.  

Over the three trading days to June 17, Berkshire Hathaway acquired as many as 2,947,611 common stock of Oxy, at a price of around $59 each.

Berkshire Hathaway now owns 255,281,524 common Oxy shares, or nearly 29%, according to the filing. Buffett’s stake in Oxy was worth about $15.37 billion as of Monday.  

Over the past two years, Berkshire Hathaway has been consistently buying shares in Occidental, sparking speculation in 2022 and early 2023 that it was going to take over the company, which it helped acquire rival Anadarko in 2019.

Buffett denied he had such plans at Berkshire’s annual shareholders’ meeting last year. 

“We don’t know where the price of oil will be, but we like Occidental’s position in the Permian,” Buffett told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in May 2023.

“There’s speculation about us buying control, we’re not going to buy control,” Buffett added. “We wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

Nevertheless, Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in Oxy points to the Omaha investor betting on the success of U.S. shale.

Occidental Petroleum, for its part, hopes it will have closed its $12-billion planned acquisition of Permian oil and gas producer CrownRock by the next quarterly earnings report at some point in August 2024, Oxy’s chief executive Vicki Hollub said on the Q1 call with analysts.  

At the end of last year, Oxy said it would buy CrownRock for cash and stock in a deal valued at around $12 billion, including debt, with which it joined the wave of mergers and acquisitions in the industry.

Occidental said in February 2024 that it expects the closing of the deal to be delayed to the second half of 2024 as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had asked for additional information while it reviews the proposed transaction. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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