Warren Buffett announced on CNBC's Squawk Box Monday that his company Berkshire Hathaway had purchased $10.7 billion worth of IBM shares since March 2011 -- good for a 5.5 percent stake in the company,
Buffett, who Forbes labels the third-richest man in the world, is known for making surprise investments. The IBM bet is especially noteworthy, however, because of Buffett's history of avoiding tech companies. His reason for remaining skeptical all these years? He often doesn't "understand" what the companies themselves do, CNBC reports.
But after reading IBM's 2010 annual report "through a different lens," Buffett said he'd changed his mind.
"I don't think there is any big company that I can think of, that has done a better job of laying out where they're going to go and then having gone there," Buffett told CNBC. "They laid out a road map. I should have paid more attention to it five years ago."
In particular, Buffett praised former CEO Lou Gerstner for saving the company from bankruptcy, and current CEO Sam Palmisano, who he said has "delivered big-time," according to Fortune.
IBM has recently benefited from an emphasis on higher-margin businesses such as data-analysis services, the Wall Street Journal reports. The positive public reception of Watson, a super-computer who bested human competitors on the game show Jeopardy, also gave the company extensive positive press. Indeed, Watson eventually led the company to an Internet achievement award: the Webby for "Person" Of The Year.
This isn't the only high-profile investment Buffett's made recently. In August, Buffett invested $5 billion in Bank of America, a company plagued by negative publicity after a plan to charge customers $5 fee to use debit cards caused a national uproar. Still, Buffett told CNBC on Monday that the BofA CEO Brian Moynihan is following a "very logical path" to get the bank back on track.
Outside of his Berkshire Hathaway duties, Warren Buffett has personally taken on the issue of tax rates for America's richest taxpayers, writing in August that "while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks." President Obama subsequently named a proposed millionaire's tax the "Buffett rule."
As of 12:15pm, IBM's stock was up .37 percent for the day, according to Google Finance.
Here are ten other big moments in Warren Buffett's career:
In 1964, Warren Buffett purchased shares of an American Express wracked by the "salad oil scandal." The purchases would go on to net him $3.7 Billion, according to 24/7 Wall St. The move would later be compared to his more recent investments in Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.
In 1973, Warren Buffet began to acquire stock in the Washington Post Company, eventually investing $10 million in the compnay. Buffett has said the impressive management style of publisher Katharine Graham provoked him to invest in the paper. Buffet became a member of the Washington Post's board of directors. He stepped down in early 2011.
Warren Buffet began buying stock in Coca-Cola Company in 1988. One of Buffet's most lucrative investments of all time, the stock price rose from $10 to $45 per share in just four years, and by the end of 2003 the original $1 billion investment was worth over $10 billion.
In 2008, Buffett flew in the face of a full-blown financial crisis and bought $5 billion worth of Goldman Sachs shares, netting an eventual $1.6 billion in dividends, according to CNBC.
Despite the recession officially declared over, Buffett told CNBC in September 2010 that the economy was "still in a recession. And -- and we're not gonna be out of it for awhile, but we will get out of it."
During the U.S. debt ceiling debate over the summer, Buffett told CNBC that the the Republican-controlled Congress was "trying to use the incentive now that we're going to blow your brains out, America, in terms of your debt worthiness over time."
After Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. credit, Buffett told Bloomberg TV that the country deserved a "quadruple A" rating, not a downgrade -- a remark later referenced by President Obama.
In a New York Times op-ed Buffett criticized the low tax rates of U.S. billionaires. "[W]hile the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks," Buffett wrote.
On August 25th 2011, Buffett announced that he would purchase $5 billion worth of shares in beleaguered Bank of America. According to CNBC, he reportedly "dreamt this idea up...while he was in the bathtub."
On Nov. 14 Warren Buffett announced he had accumulated a 5.5 percent stake -- 64 million shares -- in IBM stock. Buffet said in an interview with CNBC that when he looked at IBM's annual report this year, "I read it through a different lens." Since Buffett started building his stake in IBM, the company's shares rose about 17 percent, Reuters reported.