Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, revealed that it had initiated a stake in Apple worth nearly $1 billion, in what was the only deal for the investment firm for the first quarter.
Buffett has long been avoiding making any investment in technology companies, with the billionaire saying four years ago that he was specifically ruling out any investments in Apple. Buffett has an investment in IBM, but that is performing poorly.
However, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, a pair of hedge-fund managers brought into Berkshire by Buffett as potential successors in running the company's stock portfolio worth $129 billion, have been willing to venture into markets that Buffett would not touch. One such venture would be this massive investment in Apple, which ranks among the biggest one yet made by the duo.
In an email, Buffett wrote that Combs and Weschler are allowed to make investment decisions without consulting him, though he did not reveal which one of the two made the call. The Apple investment, however, reveals the space that the 86-year-old Buffett is giving to his successors. In fact, it could signal the beginning of the transfer of the responsibility to choose the stocks that Berkshire will invest in.
"The big takeaway is Buffett is getting less involved in investment decisions but at the same time Berkshire is still looking for what they consider is good value," said Greenwich Wealth Management Chief Investment Officer Vahan Janjigian, adding that the Apple stake is a sign of the new blood in the firm diversifying into wider markets.
The price of Apple stocks rose by 3.7 percent upon news of Berkshire's investment, closing at $93.88 for a gain of $3.36. While there is belief among investors that the high growth rates of Apple are over and that the company could deserve a lower valuation, Apple's strong management and balance sheet brought forward the Berkshire purchase.
The investment, however, was made before Apple revealed in April that its quarterly revenue declined for the first time in 13 years.
Apple has not only been on the receiving end of investments though, as just last week, the company made a $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese rival of ride-sharing services company Uber.