Berkshire Hathaway disclosed on Thursday a new $3.45 billion stake in Exxon Mobil, after buying 40.1 million shares in the world’s largest publicly traded oil company.
The investment represents just 0.9% of Houston-based Exxon’s shares, but analysts said it reflects strong support by Warren Buffet, the second-richest American and head of Berkshire.
“When Warren Buffett gives his seal of approval to any company, that is never a bad thing,” said Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst at Raymond James & Associates, who rates Exxon shares a “strong buy.”
Exxon shares got a $0.84 (0.9%) lift after the disclosure to $94.06 in after-hours trading.
“He likes buying big, established global brand names, and Exxon is a good flight-to-quality stock,” said Fadel Gheit, senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co, referring to Buffett. “The stock has also lagged the market in the last three and five years. That makes it a typical Warren Buffett holding.” Gheit has a “perform” rating on Exxon.
Berkshire already has energy and utilities businesses, including MidAmerican Energy, which is spending $5.6 billion to buy Nevada utility NV Energy Inc.
Buffett sometimes gets SEC permission to delay disclosures so that he can buy stocks without having investors copy him on mass, which is what he did for the second quarter of 2013. It was revealed on Thursday that Exxon purchases took place during that period.
“We appreciate the confidence investors have in ExxonMobil when they decide to invest in the company,” Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said in an email.
Berkshire last reported owning Exxon shares in late 2011.