Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha, Neb.-based multinational conglomerate holding company run by billionaire investor Warren Buffet, has revealed a 2.3% stake – comprising nearly 19 million shares – in The Kroger Co. during the fourth quarter, a move that makes Berkshire one of the 10 biggest holders of the company’s stock, according to published reports.
Kroger shares leaped 6% following the news, which became public on Friday, Feb. 14, after the closing bell.
“The move is an interesting one given that Berkshire also owns a small position in Amazon, the online retailing giant that has disrupted the grocery business through its purchase of Whole Foods and food delivery offerings for Amazon Prime customers,” noted CNN.
The news outlet went on to list Buffett’s other retail and food industry holdings: large stakes in Kraft Heinz, Coca-Cola and Mondelez. Additionally, Berkshire is the parent company of See's Candies, Dairy Queen and the Pampered Chef brand of cookware.
The business magnate reportedly shelled out $500 million for the shares, USA Today reported, adding, “Buffett’s investing style, unlike activist hedge funds that have targeted Cincinnati peers such as Procter & Gamble and Macy's, will likely be interpreted as a vote of confidence in Kroger management’s strategy and stock outlook.”
Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,769 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.