FRI, JUN 24, 2022
Buffett may redirect billions to family foundation supporting abortion rights - Wall Street Journal
Warren Buffett may be planning to direct as much as $100 billion of his fortune to a family foundation that supports abortion rights, instead of having it go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
That's according to a lengthy Wall Street Journal report this week (before the Supreme Court announced today that it is overturning its 1971 Roe v. Wade decision.)
It is not referring to the money Buffett has pledged to contribute during his lifetime to the Gates Foundation. (Over the years, he has turned over Berkshire stock worth a total of almost $36 billion at the times they were donated, with more to come.) That isn't affected.
The Journal's report involves the undistributed Berkshire shares Buffett will still own when he dies.
The Gates Foundation has been anticipating it will get the windfall, and according to the report, staffers there have been thinking for years about how it might use the "flood of funding."
Bill and Melinda Gates join Warren Buffett at a news conference in June 2006, announcing the Gates Foundation would be getting substantial annual donations of Berkshire stock from the Omaha billionaire. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
But now, "similar preparations are under way at a different charity -- a little known Buffett family foundation that supports abortion rights."
It's the Susan Thompson Foundation, named for Buffett's first wife, who died in 2004.
Its website only covers the college scholarships it has been offering since 1964, but the Journal reports that based on annual tax filings, "it has spent the bulk of its funds on abortion access and reproductive health," causes Susan Buffett supported when she was alive.
The report says officials at the foundation "have been hiring staff and making plans to spend a massive influx of money the small organization expects to receive."
And compared to the Gates Foundation's 1,800 employees, it is indeed small, with a "few dozen" staffers and a board of "mostly family and friends."
The Journal notes that it's been told Buffett thinks the Gates Foundation is too big. He resigned as a trustee last year, shortly after Bill and Melinda Gates revealed they would divorce.
The article acknowledges that Buffett hasn't publicly revealed how he plans to divide his estate, but officials at both the Gates and Buffett foundations "have discussed in internal meetings that the amount left to the Buffett family foundation could be as high as $70 billion to $100 billion."
Buffett declined the Journal's requests for comment, except for a statement responding to its initial inquiries: "There are a significant number of inaccuracies in your reporting."
There has been no response to my email to Berkshire asking for a comment.
Buffett's last lunch auction raises $19 million
An anonymous bidder is paying a record $19,000,100 to have lunch with Warren Buffett in the "grand finale" of a series of annual online auctions that have raised more than $53 million over two decades.
The proceeds are again going to San Francisco's GLIDE, which provides "programs and services that lift people out of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, and advance equity through systems change."
A news release posted by eBay does not say why this is the last auction, but does quote Buffett as saying, "It's been nothing but good. I've met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. The one universal characteristic is that they feel the money is going to be put to very good uses."
Berkshire buys more Occidental Petroleum shares
Berkshire Hathaway has added another 9.6 million shares to its Occidental Petroleum stake.
According to an SEC filing Wednesday evening, it spent a total of almost $529 million in a series of purchases, paying an average price of $55.36 per share.
After going into the low $70s earlier this month, OXY's stock price had recently fallen back to the mid $50s. It closed today at $57.52.
Berkshire now reports holding 152.7 million shares, 16.3% of OXY's outstanding shares, currently worth $8.8 billion.
It's Berkshire's seventh largest reported holding of publicly-traded U.S. equities, accounting for around 2.8% of its current market value of more than $300 billion.
Berkshire's purchases have generated some speculation it may eventually buy Occidental Petroleum outright.
Business Insider quotes a note from Truist Securities as saying, "We believe there is good chance billionaire investor Warren Buffett buys the remaining two-thirds of Occidental that he and Berkshire Hathaway do not own once the company becomes investment grade."
It wouldn't be cheap. The Motley Fool's Dan Caplinger estimates that right now, with a premium, Berkshire would have to pay $60 billion or more to buy the rest of OXY and assume $35 billion in net debt.
BUFFETT AROUND THE INTERNET
Some links may require a subscription
BERKSHIRE'S TOP U.S. STOCK HOLDINGS - Jun 24, 2022
Berkshire's top holdings of disclosed publicly-traded U.S. stocks by market value, based on today's closing prices.
Holdings are as of March 31, 2022 as reported in Berkshire Hathaway’s 13F filing on May 16, 2022, except for Apple, Bank of America, and U.S. Bancorp, which also include shares held as of Mar 31, 2022 as disclosed in New England Asset Management’s 13F filing on May 14, 2022, and except for Occidental Petroleum, which is as of June 22, 2022.
In addition to U.S. stocks, shares held as of December 31, 2021 of China's BYD, as listed in Buffett's 2021 letter to shareholders, are included. The price of those shares in U.S. trading is used to approximate the current market value of the position. The value of the stake as a percentage of the company's market value is fixed at what was listed as of December 31, 2021 in the letter.
The full list of holdings and current market values is available from CNBC.com's Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Tracker.
Please send any questions or comments about the newsletter to me at email@example.com. (Sorry, but we don't forward questions or comments to Buffett himself.)
If you aren't already subscribed to this newsletter, you can sign up here.
-- Alex Crippen, Editor, Warren Buffett Watch