Buffett’s Berkshire bought about $1 billion worth of Activision shares before Microsoft deal

Warren Buffett
Gerald Miller | CNBC

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased about $1 billion worth of shares in Activision Blizzard in the fourth quarter, according to a regulatory filing, jumping in before Microsoft agreed to buy the video-game publisher for $68.7 billion.

Berkshire owns 14.66 million shares valued at $975 million as of the end of 2021, the filing shows.

Microsoft announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard in mid-January for $95 per share, sending the stock up 25% to above $82, though it’s since fallen a bit. It would be the largest deal ever by a U.S. technology company.

Buffett is poised to notch a handsome profit should the deal close. The stock reached as low as $56.40 in the fourth quarter after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a suit alleging that Activision and its subsidiaries fostered a sexist culture and paid women less than men.

Activision also said in November that it was delaying the releases of Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. And it was hit with disappointing reviews of its new game Call of Duty: Vanguard, released the same month.

Bill Gates, the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, stepped down from the boards of Berkshire and Microsoft in 2020. Gates is a longtime friend of Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO. They rank fourth and sixth, respectively, among the world’s richest people, according to Forbes.

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