Warren Buffett Buys a Huge Stake in a Taiwan Chip Maker as the US and China Spar Over Technology

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is the second largest institutional shareholder of Apple. Visual China Group via Getty Ima

Warren Buffett’s investment conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway bought roughly 60 million shares, worth $4.1 billion, of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chip manufacturer, in the three months ending Sept. 30, the firm disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Nov. 14.

It’s Berkshire’s first disclosed investment in TSMC. The stake equates to roughly 1.2 percent of the Taiwan-based company. TSMC’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange jumped more than 10 percent today (Nov. 15) and shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange rose nearly 8 percent.

TSMC is a key supplier to Apple, of which Berkshire is a large shareholder. Although Buffet is known for generally staying away from tech stocks, with the notable exception of Apple, it’s common for Berkshire to invest in companies with deep business ties with its existing portfolio companies.

Apple has been Berkshire’s top holding since 2018. Berkshire owns nearly 900 million shares, or 5.6 percent, of the iPhone maker. Apple stock makes up nearly 40 percent of Berkshire’s equity portfolio.

Buffet’s investment comes at a time when TSMC is poised to potentially benefit from escalating tensions between the U.S. and China in the chipmaking industry. Last month, Apple halted talks with another potential supplier, Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), a mainland China-based chipmaker, after the Biden administration imposed trade restrictions on dozens of Chinese chipmakers, including YMTC.

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