Icahn Joins Ackman With Fannie, Freddie Investment

Jun 5 2014 | 11:01am ET

When hedge-fund managers Carl Icahn and William Ackman buried the hatchet in April after a bitter, decade-long feud, Ackman suggested that the two famed activists might one day work together. That day may be now.

Icahn has taken a $51 million stake in government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to regulatory filings. The deal puts Icahn alongside Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, which owns an 11% stake in both companies.

Icahn bought his shares from Fairholme Capital Management, which has been leading the push to save the two companies. Both Congress and the White House want to see Fannie and Freddie—which required $187 billion in federal bailout funds during the financial crisis—wound down and replaced with a new system that keeps less taxpayer money at risk. But reaching a deal on how to do so has proven elusive.

That has given hope to Ackman, who in February said that Fannie and Freddie would survive, and that Fairholme’s legal challenge to the bailout would succeed.

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