Hedge Fund Fights To Keep Fannie, Freddie In Business

Apr 29 2014 | 4:07pm ET

Hedge fund Fairholme Capital Management is ramping up its effort to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from dissolution, even as the White House pushes its case for that conclusion.

A group called United for American Homeownership today began a media blitz advocating for “preserving and strengthening” the two government-backed mortgage giants. Fairholme, which owns stakes in both Fannie and Freddie, is financing the group.

UAH kicked off the campaign with television advertisements on Sunday, and today formally launched its website and ran full-page ads in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

“Fannie and Freddie need to be fixed, not thrown away,” Fairholme said. “We support reform and are ready to invest in it.”

The blitz comes as the White House intensifies its push to win passage of a bipartisan bill that would phase out Fannie and Freddie, which required billions in government bailout funds during the financial crisis. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called Fannie and Freddie “one of the last pieces of unfinished business” from the crisis that ought to be dealt with “now.”

The Senate Banking Committee today began hearings on a bill that would replace Fannie and Freddie with a system of privately-backed mortgage insurers.

Fairholme last year proposed buying the two companies’ mortgage security insurance businesses, but the approach was rejected by the White House.

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