Warren Buffett Sells All Paramount Stock, Takes Huge Loss

By Chanak Maduranga

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Warren Buffett Sells All Paramount Stock, Takes Huge Loss

Warren Buffett‘s two-year dalliance with Paramount Global has come to an end.

The famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO says that his company has exited its position in Paramount. Buffett disclosed the news during Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday.

“We sold it all, and we lost quite a bit of money, that happens in this business too,” Buffett told the crowd, adding that he was the one who decided to buy into the company in the first place (there had been speculation that one of Buffett’s deputies may have initiated the trade). “I did it all by myself, folks.”

Berkshire surprised Wall Street when it disclosed a $2.6 billion stake in Paramount in May 2022. Later that year, it added even more shares, ultimately becoming the largest shareholder in the company (or at least its non-voting shares, with Shari Redstone and the Redstone family’s National Amusements controlling a majority of its voting shares).

Since then, of course, Paramount has been on a stock downswing, as the exorbitant costs to compete in the streaming wars and a seemingly tepid M&A market, have put the company in a difficult financial position. Paramount also slashed its dividend last year so that it could invest in streaming.

In recent months the company has been embroiled in sale talks, with an exclusive negotiating window with a consortium led by David Ellison’s Skydance having just ended, and a new proposal from Apollo and Sony on the table. While the stock price had picked up slightly given the talks, it has been wobbly given the uncertainty over whether a deal would get done, and what would happen if it doesn’t.

The company also parted ways with its CEO, Bob Bakish, last week, replacing him with a trio of executives forming an “office of the CEO.”

At Berkshire’s shareholder meeting last year in Omaha, Buffett quipped that “it’s not good news when any company cuts its dividend dramatically,” and added comments that seemed skeptical of the streaming business.

“You’ve got a bunch of companies that don’t want to quit. Who knows what pricing does under that?” Buffett said.

At Saturday’s meeting, Buffett said that the experience taught him, at 93 years old, a lesson.

“Actually, owning Paramount made me think even deeper, but I certainly looked harder about the whole question of what people do with their leisure time and what the governing principles are of running an entertainment business of any sort, whether it’s sports or movies or whatever it might be,” Buffett said. “I think I’m smarter now than I was a couple years ago, but I also think I’m poorer because I acquired the knowledge in the manner I did.”

Berkshire disclosed in February that it began selling its stake in Paramount at the end of last year.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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