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Buffett’s Berkshire discloses $861 million Amazon ring

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said that it owned $860.6 million Amazon.com Inc shares at the end of March, after the billionaire admitted to an underestimation of the online retailer, and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen in the company’s logistics centre in Boves, France, Jan. 19, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

The size of the investment was disclosed in a regulatory filing detailing Berkshire US listed shares as of 31 March.

Wednesday’s filing includes investments made by Buffett and his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, but don’t want to say that who bought and sold what.

Buffett told CNBC this month that the 483,300 share Amazon investment, which now has a value of $904 million, was made by Combs or Weschler, and that he was “an idiot” not to invest in Amazon itself.

The investment strengthens the relationship between Buffett and fellow billionaire Bezos, whose companies teamed up last year with JPMorgan Chase & Co of a company, Port, to reduce their employees the cost of health care.

Berkshire also invests in JPMorgan, and strengthened its holdings in the largest U.S. bank, with 19 percent in the first quarter to 59.5 million shares, with a value of $6.02 billion.

Bezos has also drawn praise from old Berkshire Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger.

“I have no reason not to have caught Amazon early. The man is a kind of a miracle worker,” Munger said at Berkshire’s annual general meeting of shareholders on May 4, referring to Bezos. “It is very strange. I give myself a pass on that.”

Combs and Weschler the initial investments are sometimes the harbinger of large Berkshire obligations directed by Buffett.

This included Berkshire’s $32.1 billion purchase in 2016 of industrial and aircraft components maker Precision Castparts, and a share in Apple Inc worth in the neighborhood of $48 billion.

Investors monitor Berkshire the quarterly declarations for signs on how, where, Buffett, Combs and Weschler value, and stock prices often rise when Berkshire reveals new challenges.

Berkshire is also the owner of more than 90 companies, such as the BNSF railway and Geico car insurer.

Often buy shares at the purchase of entire companies it seems to be too expensive. Buffett said on Feb. 23 that the prices sky-high for companies possess decent long-term prospects.” The Standard & Poor’s 500 has since risen from 2.1 percent.

Among other things, the portfolio changes, Berkshire reported adding to its stake in Delta Air Lines Inc., the PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and software company Red Hat Inc., and pairing of interests in the oil refinery Phillips 66, Southwest Airlines Co and Wells Fargo & Co.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by sue Thomas and Lisa Shumaker

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