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Warren Buffett's company discloses new Verizon stake, boosts Wal-Mart investment in 1Q

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OMAHA, Neb. - Warren Buffett's company disclosed a new investment of 11 million shares in Verizon Communications Inc. Thursday and increased its stakes in Wal-Mart and IBM.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed the changes to its $106 billion portfolio in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that show what company owned at the end of March.

The Verizon investment was the only new one disclosed.

Berkshire bought 8.6 million Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shares to increase its investment in the retail giant to 58 million shares. Buffett has said in the past that he regretted not buying more Wal-Mart stock earlier when he was building Berkshire's stake in the company.

Berkshire also bumped up its IBM Corp. investment to 68.4 million shares by buying 233,100 shares in the quarter.

Many investors watch the quarterly filings closely because they like to copy moves Buffett makes because of his successful record.

Berkshire officials don't routinely comment on the Omaha-based company's stock moves beyond what they are legally required to disclose. Officials at the company Buffett leads as chairman and CEO did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Most of the latest changes were likely made by Berkshire's two other investment managers, who each manage about $7 billion, because they were relatively small compared to Buffett's typical investments. But the Wal-Mart and IBM moves were likely his because of the size of those investments.

Berkshire increased its investment in MasterCard Inc. to a little over 4 million shares from its previous 405,000 shares.

Buffett's company sold some of its shares in General Motors Co. The carmaker is dealing with recalls of several models, but Berkshire still held 30 million shares in March, down from 40 million in December.

Several of the changes revealed Thursday were related to television entertainment:

— Berkshire boosted its stake in Liberty Global PLC — the cable company led by John Malone — to 14.7 million shares from 2.9 million at the end of 2013.

— Berkshire sold 2 million of its DirecTV shares but kept 34.5 million shares.

— And Berkshire reduced its investment in Starz to 1.9 million shares from 4.5 million shares.

Besides investments, Berkshire owns more than 80 subsidiaries in a variety of industries, including insurance, utilities, railroads, retail and manufacturing.

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Follow Josh Funk online at www.twitter.com/funkwrite

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