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Warren Buffett sold a third of his stake in IBM in the first two quarters of 2017, the sage of Omaha revealed in an interview on Tuesday.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway told CNBC he had sold about a third of his roughly 81 million shares in IBM while the company’s share price was above $180, calling the sale “a reasonable amount of stock”.

Mr Buffett said he no longer valued the company as he had in 2011, when Berkshire Hathaway began to invest in IBM, noting “I’ve revalued it downward”. He added:

I think if you look back at what they were projecting and how they thought the business would develop I would say what they’ve run into is some pretty tough competitors… IBM is a big strong company, but they’ve got big strong competitors too.

Bloomberg data shows Berkshire Hathaway was the largest shareholder in IBM at the end of 2016 with an 8.7 per cent stake.

Mr Buffett said he still owned more than 50 million shares in IBM and, with shares below $160, had stopped selling.

IBM posted its 20th straight quarter of sales declines in the quarter ended March, with revenues slipping 3 per cent to $18.2bn, missing analyst estimates. Gross profit margin, a gauge of profitability, fell to 42.8 per cent compared to 46.5 per cent in Q1 2016.

Shares in the company are down 3.4 per cent in the year to date at $159.05.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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