Berkshire’s stake, worth about $564 million, makes the Buffett-led conglomerate the 11th largest shareholder of Barrick Gold, comes as a bit of a surprise to many as the legendary investor has in the past expressed disdain for the precious metal.
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“[Not] only will Berkshire do considerably better than gold, but common stocks as a group will do better than gold, and probably farmland will do better than gold,” Buffett said at a Berkshire’s 2012 shareholder meeting. “I mean, if you own an ounce of gold now and, you know, you caress it for the next hundred years, you'll have an ounce of gold a hundred years from now."
Buffett’s right-hand man, Charlie Munger, has had a similar dislike for gold, noting that “civilized people don’t buy gold, they invest in productive businesses."
An assistant to Buffett did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
While both Buffett and Munger have previously slammed gold, it’s possible the Barrick investment decision was made by either Todd Combs or Ted Weschler, Berkshire investment managers who are potential successors at the conglomerate.
Berkshire’s stake comes as gold prices surged 18% during the first half of the year, boosted by both the Federal Reserve and Congress taking unprecedented action to support the U.S. economy amid its sharpest slowdown of the post-World War II era.
Barrick shares were up 62% this year through Monday, closing at their highest level since Feb. 28, 2013.