Bruce Berkowitz Talks Fannie/Freddie Preferreds, AIG & Sears ~ market folly

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bruce Berkowitz Talks Fannie/Freddie Preferreds, AIG & Sears

Fairholme Capital's Bruce Berkowitz owns preferred shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and joined David Faber of CNBC to talk about the securities in a rare interview.

Fannie/Freddie Preferreds

We've highlighted before that Berkowitz is seeking dividends on these securities.  The fund manager notes that you can buy the securities at such discounts with the potential for them to trade at par again if they start paying dividends.

Fairholme likes to buy stakes in systemically important institutions and Berkowitz says Fannie & Freddie are just that.

Berkowitz Talks AIG

He also touched on his stake in AIG (AIG).  He said: "Investing is all about comparing what you give versus what you get.  Now when you look at today's stock price with AIG, it still sells significantly below liquidation value.  So at some point the stock market price will meet the book value of AIG."  

He says book value is around $60 per share currently and he expects liquidation value will double in a few years. 

So when will he sell?  He said he'll have to consider the idea of selling in the event that shares eventually trade at book value & higher. 

He also addressed his large position size, noting that Benjamin Graham once distributed shares of GEICO rather than selling when the position size became too large for his fund.  So it sounds like Berkowitz is considering this option as well for the future.

Talks Sears (SHLD)

Berkowitz thinks Eddie Lampert has been doing a good job and he notes he's in the minority in that opinion.  He compares Sears to Simon Properties (SPG) and it's clear Berkowitz views as SHLD as a real estate play.

Embedded below is the video of Berkowitz's interview:

For more on this manager, you can check out Fairholme's latest portfolio in the new issue of our premium newsletter.

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