Paramount Global’s stock price shot up 15% in trading Tuesday following the news that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has scooped up more than $2 billion worth of shares in the company in recent months.
Paramount stock opened Tuesday at $28.47 after closing Monday at $28.02, before Berkshire Hathaway’s stock purchases were disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The stock stayed aloft throughout the day, closing at $32.32. The activity added more than $2 billion in market cap to Paramount. It also added to broader industry speculation about investors changing mood about media and entertainment stocks, following the surprise last month of Netflix’s underwhelming Q1 performance and warning of slowing growth to come.
Berkshire Hathaway has been in an investor in one of Paramount’s predecessor companies, Viacom, about a decade ago but Berkshire Hathaway was not known to have had a significant position in the company in recent years. Buffett’s purchases of late suggest that he sees the company as under-valued, or that he expects the company to be involved in M&A.
Paramount Global, which changed its corporate moniker from ViacomCBS earlier this year, has struggled with the conventional wisdom that the company is too small to compete in what is fast becoming a global content marketplace. The company has staked much of its hopes on building out its Paramount+ streaming platform while its older linear cable channel assets fade in value amid the broader industry upheaval spurred by consumers’ embrace of subscription streaming services and on-demand programming options.
Buffett famously invests in companies that he understands. His renewed interest in Paramount Global is an intriguing sign for the company that is home to CBS, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and other TV brands.
As of Monday, Paramount Global’s total market cap stood at $18.3 billion, meaning Buffett’s stake in the company totals nearly 15%. However, Berkshire Hathaway purchased Class B shares, which don’t have the same voting rights as the Class A shares that are largely owned by Shari Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. holding company.