Warren Buffett's Apple shares soared to a record $139 billion on Tuesday as the iPhone maker's share price closed at a new high of $157. The celebrity investor more than quadrupled his money in the tech company but missed out on an estimated $6 billion because of his declining position.
As our partners at Thai ประเทศไทย Exness ฟอเร็กซ์ report, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway spent about $36 billion between 2016 and mid-2018 to accumulate more than 1 billion shares in Apple, adjusted for a 4: 1 stock split last year. By the end of 2020, he had reduced his stake by 12% to 887 million shares, a figure unchanged as of 30 June this year.
The billionaire investor's company received about $11 billion from the sale of Apple shares in 2020 alone and received another $2 billion or so from their sale between the third quarter of 2018 and the end of 2019.
However, if Berkshire had left its stake intact, it would be worth $158 billion today - $19 billion more than its current value. Subtract the roughly $13 billion cashed in by Buffett and his team and they would potentially miss out on $6 billion in unrealised profits.
Buffett admitted during Berkshire's annual shareholder meeting in May that he probably made a mistake when he sold Apple shares last year.
"It was probably a mistake," he said, adding that his business partner and Berkshire deputy chairman Charlie Munger had advised him not to cut the position.
Apple is by far Berkshire's largest shareholding in the US, accounting for 41 per cent of its total value of $293 billion at the end of June . The technology stake is worth more than the next four largest positions - Bank of America, American Express, Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz - combined.
Berkshire's 5.4 per cent stake in Apple makes it the second largest shareholder in the group after Vanguard, the index fund giant. Buffett's company has received an average of $776 million a year from investments over the past three years.
Unsurprisingly, Buffett has repeatedly praised Apple. He promoted it as "probably the best business" he knew in an interview with CNBC last year and called it a "family jewel" in his latest letter to shareholders . He also praised Apple CEO Tim Cook as "one of the best managers in the world" at this year's Berkshire annual meeting and emphasised how much people love Apple products and how indispensable they are.