Berkshire Doubles Money on Charter After Surge on Verizon Report

Verizon CEO Said to Approach Charter on Combination

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. was one of the biggest gainers as Charter Communications Inc. jumped on a report that Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a combination with the cable company.

Charter rallied $20.58, or 6.6 percent, to $330.89 at 9:52 a.m. in New York, more than twice what Buffett’s company paid for most of its stake. Berkshire held about 9.4 million shares as of Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Buffett’s company disclosed a holding in 2014, and the investment proved well-timed. Charter announced an agreement in 2015 to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. to expand its customer base, and the takeover won government approval last year. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s annual report says that the majority of the stake, 7.5 million shares, was acquired at an average price of about $161 apiece. The document excludes stock held by pension funds of Berkshire subsidiaries.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Verizon’s interest Thursday in an article that cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. Verizon made a preliminary approach to people close to Charter, according to the newspaper.

Charter is among the top 10 holdings at Berkshire. While the portfolio includes many assets that were assembled by Buffett decades ago, such as stakes in Coca-Cola Co. and American Express Co., Berkshire has been adding holdings in recent years under his deputy managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler. Buffett didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

— With assistance by Gerry Smith

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