Berkshire Hathaway’s big Bancorp buy

/ Source: The Associated Press

Billionaire Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed Wednesday that it bought $774.3 million in U.S. Bancorp stock last year, adding to the bank holdings already in the company's $52.8 $50.4 billion stock portfolio.

The documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are the first to mention Berkshire's 23.31 million shares of U.S. Bancorp, which claims to be the sixth-largest bank in the nation. Berkshire already owned sizable stakes in Wells Fargo & Co. and M&T Bank Corp.

The Securities and Exchange Commission allowed Berkshire to delay revealing its U.S. Bank holdings until Wednesday even though the Omaha-based holding company, or one of its more than 60 subsidiaries, began buying the stock early last year.

Berkshire owned 6.11 million shares of U.S. Bancorp stock on March 31, 2006. That increased to 23.31 million shares by Sept. 30 and did not change by the end of the year.

Buffett's company regularly asks the Securities and Exchange Commission for the ability not to disclose its holdings immediately because the information could hurt its trading strategy because the market likes to follow what the "Oracle of Omaha's" company does.

Buffett's assistant Debbie Bosanek said Berkshire does not comment on its holdings beyond what the company is legally required to reveal.

Berkshire owns furniture, insurance, jewelry and candy companies, restaurants, natural gas and corporate jet firms and has major investments in such companies as The Coca-Cola Co., H&R Block Inc. and Anheuser-Busch Cos.