First Shares Purchased: 2008
Date Sold: Still Have
Amount Made: $1.8 Billion (Unrealized)
Percentage Gain: 762 percent (Unrealized)
Throughout most of his career, Buffett has famously avoided tech stocks, citing his ignorance on the subject. It was this strategy which allowed him to avoid the dot-com bubble and bust at the turn of the century. Buffett broke his no-tech rule in October 2008, when he saw incredible potential in Chinese Electric Car Company BYD. With the recession in full swing, emerging technologies like lithium-ion batteries and the cars that operate on them seemed a dangerous bet. Oil prices had fallen dramatically from all-time highs that summer and green technology was no longer on many people’s minds as an industry that would see growth any time soon. The 225 million shares he acquired cost $232 million. As of December 31st, 2009, Berkshire Hathaway owned 225 million shares of BYD stock worth about $2 billion, equaling a 9.9 percent stake in the company. This equates to an unrealized gain of $1.8 billion, or 762 percent.
(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)