Buffett disclosed the 12-figure gain this past weekend in his annual letter to shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate Buffett has long run from his office in Omaha, Nebraska. The company has a large investment portfolio that includes dozens of well-known businesses from Geico insurance to fast-food chain Dairy Queen to underwear maker Fruit of the Loom.
Buffett, who had long avoided investing in tech stocks, first bought 10 million shares of Apple back in 2016. He has since added to that stake, eventually investing more than $36 billion in the tech company’s shares. That stake, including the $11 billion in shares he cashed in last year and the over $3 billion that Berkshire has collected in dividends, was worth about $134 billion at the end of last year. Apple’s shares have slid slightly in 2021, but are still up roughly 400% in the past five years. The company’s stock price was up Monday almost 5% to nearly $127 a share.
Buffett’s Berkshire now owns just over 5% of Apple, which has a total market value of exceeding $2 trillion, making it Buffett’s largest investment by far in another publicly traded company. At $120 billion, Berkshire’s stake in Apple equals about just over 42% of its overall investment portfolio. All of the Apple shares are owned by Berkshire, and not Buffett directly.
Buffett said little beyond the size of Berkshire’s investment in Apple in the shareholder letter he released over the weekend. In early February, in an interview with Bloomberg, Buffett praised Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Tim understands the world to a degree that very, very few CEOs I’ve met over the past 60 years could match,” Buffett told Bloomberg.
Three years ago, Buffett told CNBC he believes the average person’s connection to their iPhone was strong enough that most people would pay much more for the device than they do now.
“I focus on the … hundreds, hundreds, hundreds millions of people who practically live their lives by [the iPhone],” Buffett said at the time. “I have a plane that costs me a lot, a million dollars a year or something of the sort. If I used the iPhone like all my friends do, I would rather give up the plane.”