Warren Buffett Just Revealed A Big Stake In Farm Equipment Maker Deere

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(Updates with additions of Wabco, Precision Castparts stakes in the fifth paragraph.)Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. took a stake in Deere & Co. as billionaire Chairman Warren Buffett entrusts more of the company’s investment portfolio to deputy stock pickers.

Berkshire held 3.98 million shares of the agricultural equipment maker on Sept. 30, Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said today in a filing disclosing U.S. stockholdings at the end of the third quarter. Deere advanced 0.9 per cent to $85.50 in extended trading at 4:43 p.m. in New York.

Buffett, 82, has been handing more responsibility to Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, the former hedge-fund managers he hired to help oversee part of the company’s $88 billion equity portfolio. Buffett said in July that each would probably oversee about $4 billion, compared with $2.75 billion at the beginning of the year.

Weschler and Combs “seem to get more free rein as the quarters progress,” which shows Buffett is gaining confidence in their abilities, said Josh Brown, who helps oversee about $350 million at Fusion Analytics Investment Partners LLC in New York, including Berkshire shares. “That’s probably a good trend. You hate to see it the other way around.”

Berkshire also disclosed stakes in Precision Castparts Corp., the maker of metal components, and Wabco Holdings Inc., the manufacturer of braking and suspension systems for commercial vehicles.

Buffett has served more than four decades as Berkshire’s chief executive officer, capital allocator and head of investments, building the firm through acquisitions and equity bets. His stock picks are watched by mutual funds and individuals looking for clues about his strategy.

The billionaire has said he oversees the company’s larger holdings, including stakes in Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., while his deputies are responsible for smaller bets. In the past two years, Berkshire has added stakes in companies such as General Motors Co. and DirecTV. Combs’s hiring was announced in 2010 and Weschler’s in 2011.

–With assistance from Zachary Tracer, Susanna Pak and Peter Eichenbaum in New York. Editors: Dan Reichl, Dan Kraut

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at [email protected]

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