Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reported Monday in a securities filing that it has acquired a stake in Paramount Global after acquiring $2.6 billion in Class B shares.
The SEC Form 13F filing showed that Buffett’s company acquired almost 69 million shares of Paramount Global during the first quarter, along with revealing that it also took other stakes in companies like Citibank. Overall, the investing giant acquired $51 billion in stocks during the first three months of 2022.
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Buffett, who also owns stakes in entertainment companies like Apple and Amazon, buys into Paramount Global, formerly ViacomCBS, after the company’s Q1 2022 results included subscriber gains in its flagship streaming service Paramount+ and Pluto, topping expectations. But Wall Street skepticism on the limits of streaming gains sector-wide has kept the stock in the red for the year.
Paramount Global stock remains fully majority controlled by Shari Redstone and the Redstone family’s National Amusements.
At a virtual investor meeting in February, Paramount’s operating executives including CEO Bob Bakish rolled out the company’s upcoming content offerings and strategy, which includes hefty and growing investment in programming for the direct-to-consumer business.
Paramount (which also owns CBS, Showtime, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Pluto TV and, for now, Simon & Schuster) has also been selling off assets to raise cash, divesting CBS Studio Center, Black Rock and CNET. It inked a deal to sell the publisher Simon & Schuster to Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House last year though the DOJ has sued to block the merger.
Investors have been wary of the streaming narrative across the entertainment sector, highlighted by Netflix’s stock setback after weak quarterly sub numbers.
Buffet’s move comes ahead of Paramount Global’s annual upfront pitch to TV ad buyers in New York. The company’s presentation is Wednesday afternoon.
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