Warren Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway will not take full control of Occidental Petroleum

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OMAHA, Neb. – Warren Buffett said on Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway has no plans to take full control of Occidental Petroleum, an oil giant in which it has accumulated a stake north of 20%.

“There’s speculation that we’re buying control, we’re not going to buy control,” the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ said at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting. “We wouldn’t know what to do with it.”

Last August, Berkshire received regulatory approval to buy as much as a 50% stake. Since then, Buffett has steadily increased his stake, including this year, increasing the conglomerate’s stake in the Houston-based energy producer to 23.5%. The moves had led to speculation that the 92-year-old investor could buy the entire company.

“We’re not going to make an offer for control of Occidental, but we love the stock we have,” Buffett said. “We can’t or won’t own more in the future, but we certainly have warrants on what we got on the original deal on a very substantial amount of stock around $59 a share, and the warrants last a long time, and I’m glad we have them.”

Berkshire owns $10 billion in Occidental preferred stock, and has warrants to buy an additional 83.9 million common shares for $5 billion, or $59.62 each. The warrants were obtained as part of the company’s 2019 deal that helped finance Occidental’s purchase of Anadarko.

Shares of Occidental are down about 3% this year, after more than doubling in 2022. The stock was the best-performing name in the S&P 500 last year.

— CNBC’s Sarah Min contributed reporting.

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