Warren Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway invested roughly $600 million in two financial technology companies in the last few months, deviating from its longstanding preference for established “blue chip” brands over early-stage tech firms, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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Berkshire took $300 million stakes in two fintech companies focused on emerging markets – Brazil-based payment processor StoneCo and India-based payment services company Paytm. Both investments were spearheaded by top Berkshire fund manager Todd Combs, according to the report.
The firm’s investment in StoneCo, which recently became a publicly traded company, also represented a course shift. Berkshire rarely invests in initial public offerings.
Under Buffett’s leadership, Berkshire’s investment strategy has long centered on building positions in well-established companies such as Coca-Cola and IBM. In the tech world, Berkshire is best known for its major investment in Apple.
Buffett declined through a Berkshire representative to comment on the investment.
The investments are part of Buffett’s stated intention to make better use of Berkshire’s $111 billion cash stockpile. Combs and another Berkshire portfolio manager, Ted Weschler, are said to have “total autonomy” from Buffett to pursue opportunities.
StoneCo and Paytm are two of the most widely used payment processing services in their respective regions. Paytm has more than 300 million users, surpassing U.S. industry rival PayPal.