SRM Ups Countrywide Stake To 5.5%

Feb 14 2008 | 1:00am ET

London hedge fund SRM Global is reiterating—and reinforcing—its opposition to Bank of America’s bid for the country’s largest mortgage lender.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, SRM said it had boosted its stake in Countrywide Financial Corp., in spite of seeing about half of its assets evaporate in the past three months. SRM now owns 5.48% of Countrywide, up from 5.19% earlier this month.

The hedge fund, run by Jon Wood, also sent another letter to Countrywide’s board of directors, arguing that “the merger transaction with Bank of America in not in the best interests of its shareholders.” Wood also complained that Countrywide management has refused to meet with him.

BofA’s $4.6 billion stock offer is worth about $8 per share, a roughly 15% premium to its closing price yesterday. But SRM argues that those terms value Countrywide at less than half its book value.

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