Warren Buffett called geopolitical tensions “a consideration” in Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s decision to sell most of its stake in Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC just a few months after buying it, Nikkei reported on Tuesday.
Berkshire had bought more than $4.1 billion of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s shares between July and September 2022, but in February said it had sold 86% of its stake by year-end.
The size of the investment suggested that Buffett, rather than one of his Berkshire portfolio managers, had bought the shares for Berkshire, and the sale was unexpected given the billionaire’s preference to invest for the long-term.
In an interview with Nikkei, Buffett described TSMC as a well-managed company, but said Berkshire had better places to deploy capital.
Buffett was in Japan to meet with five Japanese trading houses in which Berkshire invests.
China claims Taiwan as its own, a claim Taiwan rejects. Tensions over the democratically governed island have been rising, particularly when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week.
Berkshire owns several dozen businesses including the BNSF railroad and Geico car insurance. It also invests in dozens of stocks, including iPhone maker Apple Inc, which Buffett views more as a consumer company than a technology company.
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