Warren Buffett buys $500M stake in Kroger

Warren Buffett buys $500M stake in Kroger
FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks during a game of bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reports earnings on Saturday, Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) (Source: Nati Harnik)

CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) - Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has acquired a 2.3 percent stake in Cincinnati-based Kroger, government disclosures say.

Our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer say word of the legendary investor’s $500 million purchase in the nation’s second-largest grocer sent the company’s stock soaring in after-market trading late Friday. The New York Stock Exchange is closed for Presidents’ Day, but Kroger shares are up nearly 6% to $29.88 in extended-hours trading.

With a net worth of more than $80 billion, Buffett is listed as the world's third-wealthiest man behind Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, according to Forbes. Buffett's conservative buy-and-hold investing style is credited for popularizing value investing.

Buffett's investing style, unlike activist hedge funds that have targeted Cincinnati peers such as Procter & Gamble and Macy's, will likely be interpreted as a vote of confidence in Kroger management's strategy and stock outlook.

Berkshire Hathaway's 18.9 million shares are enough to make it one of Kroger's 10-largest investors.

Kroger’s stock has taken a hit in recent years after Amazon jumped into the grocery business when it acquired Whole Foods in mid-2017. Since then, the Downtown-based retailer has ramped up curbside pickup and home delivery options to woo customers demanding more convenience.

Copyright 2020 Cincinnati Enquirer. All rights reserved.