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DaVita Advances After Berkshire Increases Stake: Denver Mover

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. gained the most since May after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. boosted its stake in the second-largest U.S. dialysis provider last week.

DaVita rose 2 percent to $116.88 at in New York after climbing as much as 2.4 percent, making it the fourth-best performer today on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Health Care Index. The Denver-based firm has advanced 5.8 percent this year, compared with the 21 percent gain of the 54-company index.

Berkshire bought 639,200 DaVita shares on July 2 and July 3 for about $73.4 million, according to a regulatory filing, increasing the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm’s stake to about 15.6 million shares. The purchases came after last week’s proposal to cut U.S. Medicare payments to the dialysis industry, which sent shares of DaVita down 6 percent in the two days after the announcement.

“It was a relatively good purchase on the pull back,” Kevin Ellich, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Cos., said in a phone interview. “It’s good to see some support.”

DaVita’s growth in treatments and recurring revenue stream made the dialysis provider an attractive buy for Berkshire, Ellich said.

Regulus Therapeutics Inc.’s Garry E. Menzel will join DaVita in September as chief financial officer, the company said today in a statement. Menzel, 48, will replace Interim CFO Jim Hilger, who will continue as the company’s chief accounting officer.

Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has served on DaVita’s board of directors since 1994.

To contact the reporter on this story: Megan Hickey in New York at mhickey18@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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