Why Did Warren Buffett Sell Stake in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)?

Warren Buffett
Photo: Warren Buffett / Credit: Flickr

Warren Buffett has sold a one-third of his stake in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), citing a strong competition. The legendary investor unloaded about 30 million IBM shares in the first and second quarters of 2017. The star investor held about 81 million shares of IBM at the end of 2016, according to a report from CNBC.

Story continues below

IBM is in the process of transitioning from its traditional business model to cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Buffett Lost Confidence in IBM

Buffett believes that IBM is “a big strong company, but it has “got big strong competitors, too.”

He told CNBC that he does not “value IBM the same way that I did six years ago when I started buying … I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.”

On Saturday, Buffett said at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting that he “was wrong” about his bet on IBM.

Kim Forrest, portfolio manager and vice president at Fort Pitt Capital Group, does not agree with Buffett.

“Warren and I are on the opposite sides of that trade,” Forrest told CNBC. “I came from the world of software and I think I know what IBM is about.”

“The software that they are selling, they do it by subscription,” Forrest said during CNBC’s Closing Bell on Friday about IBM’s new products. “So you don’t see the same sort of financial characteristics on the income statement and the balance sheet.”

IBM Financial and Stock Performance

For the first quarter of 2017, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) reported earnings per share of $2.38, versus $2.35 a year ago.

Revenues fell 3% year-over-year to $18.2 billion, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $18.5 billion.

On Friday, shares of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) closed down 2.51%. The stock is down over 6% so far this year. However, during the last 12 months, IBM has surged more than 5%.

An ad to help with our costs