Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway cashed out $158 million of HP stock in three days this week.
The investor’s company still owns 11.7% of the PC maker, a position worth around $3.3 billion.
HP stock hit a record high last year after Berkshire revealed its stake, but is down 32% since then.
The famed investor’s conglomerate offloaded 5.5 million shares at prices between $28 and $30, reducing its holding by 4.5% to 115 million shares. HP’s largest shareholder saw its ownership fall from 12.2% to 11.7% as a result.
HP stock hit an all-time intraday high of $41.47 the day after Berkshire first disclosed its position in April last year, but has plunged by 32% since then to $28.33 at Wednesday’s close. The stock-price decline and Berkshire’s recent disposals have slashed the value of Berkshire’s stake from $5 billion at its peak to $3.3 billion today.
Hewlett-Packard spun off its enterprise business in 2015, retaining its PC and printer business under the HP name. Bill Hewlett and David Packard founded the company in a California garage in 1939, when Buffett — who turned 93 last month — was only 8 years old.
Buffett famously eschews technology companies in favor of simpler, safer, and more predictable businesses. However, he counts Apple — founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who both had stints at Hewlett-Packard — as by far the biggest position in his stock portfolio, and has trumpeted it as “a better business than any we own.”
It’s unclear why the investor and his team have trimmed their HP stake, but they were likely drawn to the company in part because of its modest valuation. HP earned about $63 billion in net revenue and $5 billion in operating income last financial year, yet its market capitalization was only $28 billion as of Wednesday’s close.
Buffett has been struggling to find attractively priced stocks and businesses to buy for a few years now. Berkshire sold a net $8 billion of stocks in the second quarter, and slowed its pace of buybacks to $1.4 billion in the period, which helped to boost its cash pile by 13% to a near-record $147 billion.