ATLANTA -- Billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett has purchased more than $1 billion of Coca-Cola Co. stock to make his holding company the second largest stockholder in the soft drink giant, it was reported Thursday.
The Atlanta Constitution said Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a financial and insurance holding company, has purchased more than 22 million, or 6.3 percent, of Coca-Cola shares.
Hathaway ranks only behind SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta, with about 12.8 percent, as the largest Coca-Cola stockholder.
The newspaper said Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Hathaway, headquartered in Omaha, Neb., said Wednesday he doesn't plan to buy any additional Coca-Cola shares and intends to hold the stock 'forever.'
'We are the ultimate in passive investors,' he said.
Buffett, 58, whose worth is estimated at $2 billion, said he has been a long-time admirer of the blue-chip company because he understands the business and likes and trusts the management.
He said he actually has been 'investing' in Coca-Cola since he was 6 years old.
'I would buy six-packs for a quarter and walk around the neighborhood selling them for a nickel each,' he said.
The Constitution said Roberto C. Goizueta, chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola, told employees of Buffett's investment in an internal memorandum Tuesday, calling it 'a very positive development.'
'Berkshire Hathaway's investment is a strong vote of confidence and a welcomed endorsement of our past success and future potential,' Goizueta's memorandum said.