Billionaire Buffett Has Probably Taken $213 Million Loss on His Teva Stock

Legendary investor had 3.9% stake in drug marker at end of first quarter

FILE PHOTO: Warren Buffett at a company annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska U.S. May 6, 2018.
\ Rick Wilking/ REUTERS

Teva Pharmaceuticals’ shareholders can take some consolation from the fact that one of the world’s most admired investors is sharing their pain.

Berkshire Hathaway, the investment vehicle for billionaire Warren Buffett, probably lost about $213 million since March 31 on his Teva holding after the shares got pounded over the last several days after 44 U.S. states cited Teva as the central figure in an alleged generic-drug price-fixing scheme.

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Information on Berkshire Hathaway’s exact holdings in Teva right now are not public, but in a report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday the company said that at the end of the first quarter it held 43.2 million shares, or 3.9%. The number hadn’t changed during that period, the report said.

The value of Berkshire Hathaway’s Teva shares rose $11 billion in the first quarter as Teva stock posted a small 1.7% gain. But as of Wednesday they had fallen 27% in the second quarter.

On Thursday, Teva shares were rising for the first time this week, up 2.5% local time in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $11.73.

Berkshire Hathaway appeared to be giving Teva and its newly appointed CEO Kare Schultz a strong vote of confidence when it reported in December 2017 that it had amassed a 1.86% stake in the company, or about 18.6 million shares.

Buffett’s net worth is around $90 billion. His investing moves and his market pronouncements are widely followed, but speculation at the time was that the Teva purchases were made by one or two of his lieutenants.”

Berkshire Hathaway bought another 22 million shares in first-quarter 2018 and a final 2.7 million in the following quarter, according to SEC filings.