Berber Hathaway stock repurchases this year

Berber Hathaway stock repurchases this year

More than $1.8 billion of its own stock was purchased this year by Berkshire Hathaway Inc, which has stepped up its pace of stock buybacks.

Berkshire said on Friday it had the equivalent of 1,455, 698 Class A shares outstanding, down 4,035 from year end and 2,537 from Feb. 13, reflecting the repurchases.

Berkshire repurchases included Class B shares, which normally cost about 1 1500th as much as Class A shares.

The Class A shares closed Friday at $442,765, their lowest for the year, while the Class B shares closed at $293.51, near their low.

They suggest that Buffett and fellow billionaire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who handle major capital allocation decisions, still view Berkshire's stock as undervalued, and repurchases as a prudent use of the company's cash.

Berkshire ended up with $128.6 billion of cash and equivalents at the end of 2022.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate owns dozens of businesses including Geico car insurance and the BNSF railroad, as well as stocks such as Apple Inc and Bank of America Corp. Buffett owns 15.6% of Berkshire's stock.

In his Feb. 25 annual letter to shareholders, Buffett defended buybacks, calling someone who views repurchases as harmful, an economic illiterate or a silver-tongued demagogue. The comment appeared to criticize the White House and some Democrats who would prefer to use available cash to invest in their businesses.

President Joe Biden proposed quadrupling the buybacks' excise tax by 1%, which is why they're subject to a 1% excise tax.