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Berkshire Hathaway reduces HP stake as underperformance persists

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Berkshire Hathaway Trims HP Stake as Underperformance Persists

Berkshire Hathaway, led by Warren Buffett, has sold a portion of its stake in HP due to the ongoing underperformance of the printer and PC maker. According to a recent regulatory filing, the conglomerate sold approximately 5.5 million shares of HP, valued at around $158 million, in a series of transactions over three days. Despite the reduction, Berkshire still retains over $3 billion worth of HP shares. Following the news, HP's stock fell over 2% in premarket trading.

Disappointing Performance and Market Underperformance

HP's lackluster performance has been a cause for concern. Last year, the stock finished with a decline of over 28%, and this year, it has only seen a modest 5% increase, significantly lagging behind the overall market and its tech peers. The recent fiscal third-quarter revenue report, which missed analysts' expectations, further added to the disappointment. While analysts believe that PC revenues may improve in the future, concerns remain regarding the company's printing business.

Buffett's Value Bet and Lessons from Past Investments

When Berkshire Hathaway initially revealed its stake in HP, it was seen as a classic value bet rather than a specific bet on the company's future or products. Buffett may have been attracted to HP's aggressive buyback program and substantial dividends, which consistently generated capital returns. However, this move reminds many of a similar bet Buffett made in the past with IBM, which did not work out well for Berkshire. Despite building a significant stake in IBM, Buffett eventually lost confidence in the company due to declining revenue and a sinking share price. In conclusion, Berkshire Hathaway's decision to trim its HP stake reflects the ongoing underperformance of the company. HP's disappointing financial results and struggles in the printing business have raised concerns among investors. Buffett's past experience with IBM serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of carefully assessing investments and monitoring their long-term prospects.

Conclusion: Lessons for New Businesses

Berkshire Hathaway's decision to reduce its stake in HP offers valuable lessons for new businesses, particularly those in the tech industry.

Performance and Market Perception

HP's ongoing underperformance and disappointing financial results underscore the importance of consistent performance and meeting market expectations. New businesses must strive to deliver on their promises and maintain a positive market perception to attract and retain investors.

Investment Decisions and Long-term Prospects

Buffett's experience with HP and IBM highlights the importance of careful investment decision-making and a focus on long-term prospects. New businesses should be aware that investors, especially seasoned ones like Buffett, are not just looking at immediate gains but are also considering the long-term viability and potential of the company. In conclusion, the recent developments in Berkshire Hathaway's investment in HP provide important insights for new businesses. By focusing on consistent performance, meeting market expectations, and demonstrating long-term potential, new businesses can attract and retain investors, positioning themselves for success in the competitive tech industry.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/14/berkshire-hathaway-trims-its-hp-stake-as-the-pc-maker-continues-to-underperform.html
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