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Warren Buffett acquires shares in Apple

Business magnate Warren Buffett has acquired shares in Apple worth more than $1 billion (R15,6 billion)

Buffett acquired 9,8 million shares in the tech giant through his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc in the first quarter of the year, a regulatory filing has revealed.

It’s the first investment the billionaire businessman has made in the company, the share price of which has plummeted in recent weeks.

According to a CNN report, Berkshire’s original investment was worth about $1,1 billion (R17,2 billion), but has depreciated significantly in the past four months as Apple stocks have dropped 14% since the beginning of the year.

On Monday, Apple’s share price climbed 2% on the back of the news, enabling the multinational to regain its position as the biggest global company in terms of market capitalisation.

Last week, Apple was overtaken by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, as the company with the largest market value after Apple’s stock plunged below $90 (R1 409) per share.

Buffett has famously avoided investing in technology stocks, having accumulated the majority of his wealth through investments in insurers, financial companies and mega industrial companies such as The Coca-Cola Company.

The only tech company he’s invested in over the years was IBM, an investment worth more than $10 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Berkshire marginally increased its stake in that business in the first quarter.

Berkshire’s investment follows billionaire businessman Carl Icahn’s announcement that he had sold off all of his Apple shares.

Apple’s share price has been losing ground since the announcement of lower-than-expected earnings last month that saw the first quarterly drop in iPhone sales since the smartphone was launched in 2007.

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“There is a concern that [Apple CEO] Tim Cook may have lost a handle on near-term demand, and certainly nobody believes the iPhone 7 is going to have tremendously new features that makes everybody go out and want to buy a new phone,” UBS analyst Steven Milunovich told CNBC

BBC reports that Apple has reportedly told Taiwanese suppliers to expect a low number of orders for the iPhone 7.

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