Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Boosts Stake in Delta Air Lines

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway adds $45 million of Delta Air Lines stock to its portfolio amid last week's coronavirus-induced stock market rout.
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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Report  (BRK.B) - Get Report boosted its stake in Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report last week as shares of airlines both in the U.S. and abroad posted steep declines amid the coronavirus-induced stock market rout.

Berkshire acquired more than 976,000 shares for about $45.3 million, or an average price of $46.40, according to a filing Monday. Delta, along with United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report, American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report and other carriers, shed about 20% last week.

Air carriers in particular took an especially large hit last week amid concerns about how the spread of the coronavirus will both keep passengers from travelling and also impact future earnings, particularly carriers that fly internationally to impacted regions.

Buffett, Berkshire’s long-time chairman and CEO, is known for stepping in and buying what he sees as long-term value companies when the rest of the market sees trouble. Berkshire’s holding in Delta now stands at about 71.9 million shares, according to the filing.

Meantime, airlines are waiving various changes fees and fare-difference costs as they seek to accommodate fliers either already impacted by plans to travel to affected regions or anticipating being impacted by them.

As of early Tuesday, there were more than 91,000 global cases of the illness and 3,118 people had died from the coronavirus, which first emerged in the Hubei province of China late last year.

Shares of Delta Air Lines were up 3.9% at $49 in premarket trading on Tuesday. Shares of United were up more than 4% at $63.76, while American Airlines stock was up 3.92% at $19.60.

Shares of Berkshire Class A stock ended the day Monday up 5.5%, or $17,052.50 a share, at $324,500. The Class B stock ended the day up 5.57% at $217.63.