Warren Buffett told CNBC he is not looking to buy all or part of General Electric.
“That’s not the case. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be talking about it anyway,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick in an interviewthat aired Friday on “Squawk Box.”
Unsubstantiated reports in March that some big investors were beginning to analyze buying all or part of GE sent the company’s shares higher. Some speculated that Buffett was looking to invest, with RBC Capital Markets theorizing that GE’s downtrodden state makes it ripe for him to invest.
“Berkshire Hathaway has a history of investing in storied businesses struggling at steep valuation dislocations,” analyst Deane Dray wrote in a note to clients at the time. “In many ways, GE’s current situation fits the profile of an ideal Warren Buffett investment.”
Dray also noted Buffett’s Berkshire invested in GE’s preferred shares during the financial crisis in October 2008.
Watch CNBC's full interview with Warren Buffett 3 Hours Ago | 13:27
While Buffett denied the rumors, he did say he wants “the company to do well” and complimented GE’s chief executive.
“I admire John Flannery and what he’s doing. He’s got a very tough job and he’s doing it very logically,” Buffett said. “It’s a terrific American company from way, way, way back.”
Shares of GE were 0.25 percent higher in trading Friday. The stock has fallen more than 52 percent over the last 12 months, to $13.93 as of Friday’s open.
GE reported upbeat earnings in its first-quarter report last month and reaffirmed its financial outlook for the year. The company’s GE Capital and power businesses continue to drag on its performance but overall the report offered relief for GE after a tumultuous 12 months.
Investors have been selling GE stock amid questions about the company’s ability to grow in the future. Flannery is in the midst of an extensive restructuring of the business, which could result in the sale or spinoff of parts of its portfolio. At the same time, the company has set aside reserves for potential liabilities at its GE Capital unit, which is the subject of an investigation by the Department of Justice.
Buffett was speaking to CNBC on Thursday night ahead of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this weekend.
@CNBC: All things Buffett