Warren Buffett increases his Tesco shareholding

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The Independent Online

Warren Buffett, known as the Sage of Omaha for his investment prowess, spent almost £400m on shares in Tesco within hours of the profit warning that battered its share price last week.

Mr Buffett, who is known for taking a contrarian view on investments, has built his Berkshire Hathaway group's share of the company up to 5.08 per cent, buying an extra 1.87 per cent of the business.

He pounced last Thursday after Tesco issued its first warning on profits for more than 20 years, triggering a fall in the share price of nearly 20 per cent at one stage. Although Tesco shares closed up 2 per cent at 327p yesterday, they are still down nearly 20 per cent on the level they opened the year at.

Mr Buffett's latest investment was revealed by a filing to the Stock Exchange yesterday.

His decision was in stark contrast to the controversial dealings by Tesco's UK chief operating officer Noel "Bob" Robbins, who sold shares the week before the warning. That move meant he made £44,000 more than he would have done had he waited until after the trading statement.

The famous investor said recently that he would be buying more Tesco shares if the price fell and has proved as good as his word, citing the supermarket giant as his preferred pick of European shares.

He has progressively increased his stake in the business since first buying significantly in 2007. He is now its third biggest shareholder behind Legal & General and Blackrock.