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Fairholme Re-Buys Berkshire Hathaway

Berkowitz says financial crisis created opportunity for Buffett.

Michael Breen, 09/01/2009

A recent SEC filing shows that Fairholme Capital, advisor to the Fairholme Fund FAIRX, repurchased Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A during 2009's first half. The firm bought about $150 million of Berkshire during the second quarter.

Firm founder and manager Bruce Berkowitz can't comment on whether the Fairholme Fund holds the stock until a new portfolio is made public, but nearly all of Fairholme Capital's assets are in this fund, so it's likely.

Berkowitz says he sold Berkshire last year because Buffett said it wouldn't beat the S&P 500 by much going forward unless substantial opportunities arose to soak up its pile of capital. Berkowitz says that's happened, and Buffett has been able to pick his spots and dictate his own terms on a number of deals.

Berkowitz also thinks Berkshire's strong balance sheet and savvy underwriting record give it a huge advantage in its insurance business because most rivals have substantially degraded their balance sheets.

Michael Breen is a senior analyst with Morningstar.

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