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Edward Sheldon, CFA | Thursday, 8th October, 2020 | More on: TSCO Image source: The Motley Fool See all posts by Edward Sheldon, CFA Warren Buffett once bought Tesco (LSE: TSCO) shares for his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway. It was an expensive mistake. He eventually sold the shares. But not before losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the stock.Would Buffett be interested in Tesco shares today? I doubt it. The company has come a long way in recent years. However, it’s still not the kind of high-quality company that Buffett goes for. Let me explain.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Why Warren Buffett wouldn’t buy Tesco sharesOne of the first things Warren Buffett looks for in a company is a competitive advantage, or ‘economic moat’ as he likes to say. This is some form of advantage that gives a company an edge over its rivals. It keeps customers coming back and protects market share.These days, Tesco lacks a competitive advantage. There’s nothing to stop a consumer from shopping at a rival. This is well illustrated by supermarket data. In recent years, Tesco has lost a significant amount of market share to rivals such as Aldi, Lidl, and Ocado.Buffett likes big profitsAnother thing Buffett likes is a high level of profitability. He likes businesses that can generate a high return on the money put into the business. Profitability can be measured with ratios such as return on capital employed (ROCE) and return on equity (ROE). The higher a company’s profitability, the more money it will have to reinvest for future growth, and reward shareholders.Tesco’s ROCE is quite poor. Over the last five years, it has averaged just 6.3%. That means it’s not very profitable. By contrast, Unilever – which Warren Buffett tried to buy a few years ago – has averaged a ROCE of 23.8% over the last five years. Meanwhile, Apple, which is Warren Buffett’s top holding, has averaged a ROCE of 27.4%.Buffett hates debtBuffett also likes companies that have strong balance sheets. He doesn’t like a lot of debt on the books. Debt makes a company more vulnerable during challenging periods.In Tesco’s half-year results yesterday, the company advised that it had net debt of £12.5bn at 29 August. That’s quite high. By contrast, total equity was £12.2bn.It’s worth pointing out that according to Stockopedia, Tesco has a Altman Z2 score (this measures financial health) of 0.69. This indicates a ‘serious risk of financial distress’ within the next two years.Tesco shares: Buffett would say noFinally, Buffett likes value. Currently, Tesco shares sport a forward-looking P/E ratio of 15.8. That’s not particularly high, however, it’s also not a bargain valuation. It’s in line with the P/E ratio of the FTSE 100 index. I don’t think Buffett would get excited about that valuation.All things considered, I’m pretty sure Warren Buffett would put Tesco shares in his ‘No’ pile today. Tesco simply just isn’t a high-quality business.Tesco is in my ‘No’ pile, too. I think there are much better stocks to buy today. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Edward Sheldon owns shares in Unilever and Apple. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Tesco and Unilever. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares Enter Your Email Address I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. 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