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Berkshire Exited Merck Before COVID Pill Boost; Trimmed Holdings In AbbVie, Bristol Myers In Q3

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·1 min read
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  • ABBV
  • BRK-B
  • MRK
  • BMY
  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK-A) cleared its stake in Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) in Q3, right on the eve of a significant stock price boost thanks to the Phase 3 success of its Ridgeback Biotherapeutics-partnered COVID-19 pill molnupiravir.

  • The molnupiravir data sent Merck's share price from about $75 apiece the previous day to as high as about $84.

  • Molnupiravir's first authorization by U.K. regulators further increased Merck's price to above $90 before falling below $82 the next day on the news of Pfizer Inc's (NYSE: PFE) stronger data for its COVID drug.

  • Before Q3 Merck withdrawal, Berkshire already halved its holding in the company to 9.16 million shares in Q2.

  • At that time, Berkshire also reported a stake of 1.55 million shares in Organon & Co (NYSE: OGN).

  • Berkshire also exited that stake in the women's health specialist during Q3.

  • Meanwhile, Berkshire also continued to reduce its ownership in AbbVie Inc (NYSE: ABBV) and Bristol Myers Squibb & Co (NYSE: BMY), a securities filing shows.

  • Berkshire owned about 14.4 million shares in Abbvie in Q3, down from roughly 20.5 million shares in Q2 and nearly 22.9 million shares in Q1.

  • AbbVie's stock had been trending primarily upward in 2021 until the FDA unveiled that it would add an updated boxed warning for JAK inhibitors.

  • The FDA scrutiny dragged AbbVie's stock price down to around $107 at the end of September from about $120 in August.

  • Berkshire reduced its stake in BMY to 22 million.

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