Bruce Berkowitz on Bloomberg TV

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Sorry for all the delays, my computer hard drive completely crashed and I had no time to work from home. The good news is most of the articles appearing on the site in the future will be mine. I have found time in my busy day to devote to some high quality articles.

I also have a surprise for the readers very shortly. Stay tuned.

This video was sent to me by Bloomberg TV yesterday. It is an interview with legendary value investor Bruce Berkowitz, who was named mutual fund manager of the decade by morningstar. He runs the $17 billion Fairholme fund with the motto “ignore the crowd”.

Below is the video and highlights.


Berkowitz on Hank Greenberg:
“Hank Greenberg is a brilliant man.  He knows more about insurance–he’s forgotten more about insurance–than I know. And it must be a difficult process Hank has gone through.  But the bottom line is the company in previous times had a few businesses that maybe were the equivalent of picking up pennies in front of a steamroller and the price has been paid and it’s time to move on and it’s time for the company to rebuild.”

On Greenberg’s comments to Bloomberg that AIG’s asset sales weakened the company:
“The asset sales were necessary to repay the taxpayers of the United States.  Did they sell valuable assets?  Yes.  Did they receive a good price for those assets?  I believe so.  I think to some sense, a moot point.”

On if he would purchase some of the AIG shares being sold by the Treasury:
“We have a big investment in AIG.  And we would love to have a bigger investment in AIG.”

On David Einhorn’s St. Joe short bet:
“I read his analysis, which is quite extensive.  And he makes some very good points.  And I’ve taken them all into account.”

“And he may be right and I may be right, we both may be right. We’ll see.”

On buying all of St. Joe:
“I have said in the past that I would like to buy the whole company if I could buy the company.  But today, me and my partner Charlie Fernandez–we are directors of St. Joe and we have to work in the best interests of all shareholders of St. Joe.”

“We bought our St. Joe position for pretty much swampland prices.  We’ve been down there, we like what we see, brand new international airport. And we have plenty of ideas. And we’d like to help our fellow directors and management improve and increase the intrinsic value of St. Joe.

On Buffett’s successor:
“He is so good at what he does, it’s almost insulting to think that he doesn’t have a reasonable succession plan.  And I frankly don’t see why he should tell anyone.  And even if he did not and this was the end of Berkshire Hathaway, he’s done an outstanding job for people over many decades. Nothing lasts forever.  I hope Berkshire Hathaway lasts forever, but I don’t think Fairholme’s going to last forever.  I think the succession plan is a bit overblown.  I know it’s important–corporate governance, public company–I understand it.  But I don’t think there’s going to be another Warren Buffett.  There are great people at the company–many great people at the company.  And I think shareholders are just going to do fine after Warren Buffett.”

On Fairholme’s new investments in Asia:
“I’m embarrassed to say it’s only been the last few months that I’ve made a few trips to Asia.  I should’ve done it 10 years ago.  With such a growing middle class and the need for life insurance and the maturing of financial markets, there’s going to be a lot to do.  And I hope Fairholme can do more and more.”

Berkowitz on his outlook for the stock market:
“I am bullish on the country.  I am bullish on the markets.  Government has done a great job of pulling us from the precipice and saving what I consider to be the global financial system.  And now, this is just a huge opportunity for Fairholme to start to do its part and help, sort of, restructure, build a more solid foundation to help companies rebuild and move forward.  I think it’s a unique time.  And I’m looking forward to the next few years.  It’s going to be good.

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