Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway cuts J&J holdings by 64 percent

Led by billionaire and financial icon Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway said in a filing with the SEC that it sold almost two thirds of its stock in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson during the second quarter, which ended June 30.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway cuts J&J holdings by 64 percent

Led by billionaire and financial icon Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that it sold almost two thirds of its stock in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson during the second quarter, which ended June 30.

The sales cut Berkshire's J&J holdings from just over 29 million shares to 10.3 million.

J&J and several divisions have struggled to deal with manufacturing problems and allegations of illegal marketing.

The McNeil Consumer Healthcare division, with a headquarters and factory in Fort Washington, halted production of over-the-counter medicine in April 2010 because of several manufacturing problems that led to dozens of recalls. A federal judge will have to approve plans for resumption of production.

Meanwhile, the J&J's Janssen subsidiary has been accused of illegal marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal in several states. An Arkansas judge ordered the company to pay $1.2 billion in that state's case. J&J is negotiating with the federal government and other states in a separate investigation that might result in a penalty in excess of $2 billion.

In February, Buffett said in an interview with CNBC he was disappointed with what had occurred with J&J.

"They have some wonderful products and a wonderful balance sheet, but too many mistakes have been made at J&J," Buffett told CNBC. "Clearly, they have not lived up to their standards."

In that interview, Buffett suggested he might sell J&J stock in the future. A link to the PhillyPharma post from that day is here.

In the first quarter filing, Berkshire said that as of March 31, it held 29,018,127 shares of J&J. A link to the SEC filing is here.

In second quarter filing, Berkshire said that as of June 30, it held 10,333,128 shares. Tuesday's filing is here.

David Sell
About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

David Sell
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