While the Oracle of Omaha has more than doubled Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) stake in Apple since mid-2016, he cut his stake in IBM by about 30% in the first half of 2017. Berkshire owned about 81 million shares of IBM at the end of 2016 but decreased that stake to about 54 million shares in the first and second quarters of 2017.
Buffett spoke about his decision to dump IBM shares in an interview on CNBC in May. "I don't value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying... I've revalued it somewhat downward," Buffett said. "When it got above $180 we actually sold a reasonable amount of stock."
The stock is down about 12% year-to-date as the company continues to reinvent itself. IBM is in the midst of transitioning the company's focus from traditional hardware to artificial intelligence and cloud computing. For the latest quarter, IBM reported earnings of $2.97 per share, beating estimates for $2.74. However, revenue decreased year-over-year for the 21st consecutive quarter and missed expectations at $19.29 billion, vs. consensus estimates of $19.46 billion.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty responded to Buffett's sell-off of IBM shares on CNBC in June by noting that IBM is a stock meant for discerning investors. "We've traded publicly [for] 100 years out there," she said on CNBC. "And the trick to being a company in tech, which is a viciously competitive environment, that's absolutely right, is you've got to keep reinventing. And what IBM is for is for someone who values high value as a company."
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