NEW YORK (
, adding to his holdings as the bank's largest shareholder, along with several prominent hedge fund managers.
owned 342.6 million Wells Fargo shares as of December 31, worth $10.6 billion, according to Capital IQ. Berkshire added 6.2 million shares in the fourth quarter, and its Wells Fargo stake represented 18% of the company's total portfolio, exceeded only by its $13.2 billion position in
shares, which represented 23% of Berkshire's total portfolio.
Berkshire didn't add or sell Coca Cola shares during the fourth quarter. Looking at the company's bank holdings, Buffett's feelings about
Bank of America
were made clear, as Berkshire sold its entire stake of 5 million shares.
The second largest shareholder in Wells Fargo, according to Bloomberg, was
Fidelity Management & Research
, the money-management arm of
which controlled 199.7 million common shares held in various funds as of December 31, worth $6.2 billion. The company trimmed its position from 213.8 million shares at the end of the third quarter, however, with a 24% rise in Wells Fargo's shares during the fourth quarter, Fidelity's combined stake increased in value by approximately $816 million.
Hedge Funds Jump Into WFC
picked up a million Wells Fargo shares during the fourth quarter, bringing its stake up to 7.5 million shares as of December 31, worth about $231 million, or 5% of the investment manager's portfolio. Appaloosa's largest position at the end of 2010 was its 117.5 million
shares, worth $556 million as of December 31, or 12% of its total portfolio, according to Capital IQ.
The investment manager also added 2.6 million Bank of America shares, bringing its stake up to $373 million, or 8% of its total portfolio. Appaloosa also purchased 342 thousand
shares, for a total of 4.2 million shares worth $123.7 million, or 9% of its portfolio.
George Soros's fund management partnership bought 524 thousand Wells Fargo shares during the fourth quarter, bringing its stake up to 569 thousand shares worth $17.6 million - a very small position for Soros, whose largest position at the end of 2010 was 4.7 million
SPDR Gold Shares
, worth $655 million as of December 31. Through Friday's market close, GLD was down 2% year-to-date, to $135.41.
John Paulson also added during the fourth quarter, as
purchased 5 million shares, increasing its Wells Fargo stake to 20.5 million shares worth $635 million as of December 31, or 2% of the investment manager's total portfolio. During the fourth quarter, Paulson trimmed his Bank of America stake by 14 million shares, although the remaining 123.9 million shares were worth $1.7 billion, or 5% of the total portfolio. Like Soros, Paulson's largest position was its 31.5 million GLD shares, worth $4.4 billion at the end of 2010, or 13% of the total portfolio.
Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.
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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.