UPDATED with closing price: Shares of Paramount Global shot up more than 15% to close at $32.32 Tuesday after Berkshire Hathaway, the company of legendary investor Warren Buffett, disclosed late yesterday that it acquired a chunky stake in the company.
The shares, among the best performers, opened up 10% — following a 1% dip yesterday. They’re still well off a 52-week high of $47 but pulling away from a year low of $26.
Berkshire bought almost 69 million shares of Paramount Global during the first quarter, it said in an SEC filing, along with a $2.9 billion stake in giant Citigroup. It also took or boosted positions in Activision Blizzard and Apple as well as Ally Financial, Markel, McKesson, Celanese, Occidental Petroleum and Chevron. Overall, the investing giant acquired $51 billion worth of stocks during the first quarter of the year.
The SEC requires institutional investors that manage more than $100 million to disclose equity holdings within 45 days after a quarter ends.
Buffett often looks for value, investing in stocks he likes during a downturn like the one we’ve seen recently. It’s been grim lately. But Paramount, which rebranded and restructured earlier this year, has taken less of beating than others in the sector as Wall Street skepticism around the limits and cost-benefits of the industry’s massive investment in streaming.
Its first quarter 2022 results saw subscriber gains at its flagship streaming services Paramount+ and Pluto, topping expectations. Paramount said it reached 62 million total streaming subscribers for the first quarter, almost 40 million of that Paramount+.
The TV Media division, whose revenue still makes up more than three-quarters of the company’s total, posted a subdued quarter, though it exceeded estimates on the bottom line. Revenue in the unit fell 6% from the year-ago period, to $5.6 million. Excluding the impact of Super Bowl LV, which was carried by CBS in February 2021, revenue grew 2% year-over-year. Advertising revenue fell 13%, but would have been up 4% without the Super Bowl.
“We have written and are executing on a differentiated playbook to grow a diversified entertainment company and build a financially attractive business with healthy long-term margins,” CEO Bob Bakish said then.