NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Warren Buffett won big from his DirecTV (DTV) stake Monday after AT&T (T) announced plans to acquire the satellite company for $48.5 billion. And investors on StockTwits.com are now debating whether they should follow Buffett's lead into AT&T competitor Verizon (VZ).
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) had 34.5 million shares of DirecTV, as of a recent government filing. That stake is worth about $3.3 billion, given AT&T's announced $95 per share offer. Buffett made at least 25% on his shares given the change in price from when his stake was first disclosed until now.
Buffett can't spend his winnings yet. Regulators still must approve the merger, which officials could object to on grounds that the combined entity would potentially monopolize television coverage in some areas. The merger is also contingent on DirecTV continuing its deal with the National Football League to broadcast every Sunday football game. DirecTV charges $40 per month for the "Sunday Ticket" package, and reportedly pays the NFL about $1 billion a season.
But the fact that the DirecTV bet likely paid off for Buffett has StockTwits' users looking at another telecommunication company in Buffett's recently disclosed portfolio -- namely Verizon. According to a May 2015 SEC filing, Buffett had more than 11 million shares of Verizon as of March 31.
The stake is estimated at $529 million. That's not much of Berkshire Hathaway's $118.5 billion portfolio, but the success of Buffett's investment in DirecTV indicates he and his investment deputies know the communications space well enough to pick winners. Verizon shares edged higher Monday.
Some investors said following "smart money" 13F filings is not a good idea. First of all, Buffett's filing meant Berkshire held those shares in March, not that the firm still holds them. Second, the big guys sometimes get incentives to take stakes that retail investors can't dream of. Perhaps most importantly, according to some investors, Berkshire Hathaway's chart doesn't look poised for more big gains.
Still, most investors watch Buffett's filings closely. A company with $118 billion in investments can be wrong, but it wouldn't have that much money if it weren't right much of the time.
At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.