Warren Buffett hikes stake in media and tech, exits from ExxonMobil

Warren Buffett's investment arm Berkshire Hathaway Inc increased its stakes in tech holdings and DirecTV and also acquired new stakes in entertainment giant Liberty Media and dialysis treatment provider Da Vita, while exiting from oil giant ExxonMobil, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC yesterday.

Berkshire holds 1.7 million shares in Liberty Media, the Englewood, Colorado-based entertainment and e-commerce conglomerate run by billionaire John Malone, and 2.7 million shares in Denver, Colorado-based Da Vita, one of the largest kidney care companies in the US.

Both stocks were valued at around $133 million and $204 million, respectively, at the end of December 2011.

Berkshire also raised its stake by nearly five-fold in DirecTV, valuing its total holding in the satellite broadcaster to $1 billion, making it one of the 10 largest shareholders in the El Segundo, California-based company.

Berkshire's total investments in US stocks were worth $66.2 billion as of 31 December 2011, up from the $59.1 billion in the earlier quarter.

Since Berkshire holds an investment portfolio of more than $100 million, it is required under US laws to file its stock holdings in the US 45 days after the end of every quarter.

Berkshire raised its stake in at least five companies by more than 20 per cent, including buying into Intel, IBM, Wells Fargo, CVS Caremark and General Dynamics, while it reduced its stake in Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods and exited from ExxonMobil.

Buffett, whose investment is closely watched by the industry, wrote on Fortune magazine's website last week that investing in stocks or buying "first-class businesses" outright are far better long term options than investing in bonds or gold.