Shares of Southwest Airlines (LUV - Free Report) increased on Feb 28, closing the trading session at $56.04, up 4.1% over Feb 27’s closing price. Notably, resurfaced speculation that billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was planning to buy this Dallas-based low-cost carrier triggered an uptick in the carrier's stock price.
According to the Omaha, NE-based company’s latest 13-F filing, it had more than 9.5% stake in Southwest. This made the iconic investor’s company the second-biggest shareholder in Southwest, after Primecap Management Company’s nearly 13% stake. Reportedly, a post on Twitter by an online trading portal, StockTraders.Net, hinted at “unconfirmed talk” that Berkshire was looking to buy the rest of Southwest shares for $75 a piece. The figure is much higher than Southwest’s current trading price.
Buffett, the founder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is commonly regarded as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) investors of all time. Therefore, even rumors surrounding a takeover by his company pleased investors.
In response to the rumors, Southwest said that “As a policy, we do not comment on speculation, but appreciate Berkshire’s continued support of Southwest Airlines.” However, this is not the first time such speculations have risen.
We remind investors that Berkshire Hathaway bought stakes in Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) , American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) , United Continental Holdings (UAL - Free Report) apart from Southwest in 2016, after having shunned the sector for more than three decades. In fact, in 2013, Buffett had termed airlines as a death trap for investors.
Speculations had emanated that the Oracle of Omaha’s cash-rich company might acquire an airline player, ever since the iconic investor reversed his opinion regarding the industry. Subsequently, Southwest, which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has been viewed as the most likely takeover candidate by most market watchers. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
We expect investors to remain focused on updates on this burning issue moving ahead.
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