May 2, 2020 - Economy

Warren Buffett abandons U.S. airlines with a $6B billion stock sale

In this image, Warren Buffett stands in front of microphones

Warren Buffett speaks to the press at the 2019 annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on May 4. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, told shareholders on Saturday that he sold $6 billion in airline stock —the company's entire equity position in U.S. airlines.

What's happening: American Airlines and United Airlines reported first-quarter net losses of $2.2 billion and $1.7 billion on Thursday, as the industry reels from dwindling air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Buffett's company had bought 10% of the four largest airlines — Delta, United, American, and Southwest — he said.

What he's saying: "And it turned out I was wrong about that business because of something that was not in any way the fault of four excellent CEOs ... The airline business, and I may be wrong and I hope I'm wrong, I think it changed in a very major way and it's obviously changed in the fact that their four companies are each going to borrow perhaps average of at least 10 or 12 billion each," he said on Saturday.

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