Fairholme offers to buy Fannie, Freddie businesses
WASHINGTON (AP) — An investment firm is offering to buy from the government core businesses of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a $52 billion deal.
Fairholme Capital Management made the proposal Wednesday to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie. The government rescued the two companies in the financial crisis in September 2008 with taxpayer aid totaling $187 billion.
Fannie and Freddie buy mortgages from lenders, package them as securities, guarantee them against default and sell them to investors.
Fairholme says it would lead a group of investors to buy the guarantee businesses of the companies. The firm says that would be sufficient to back about $1 trillion in new mortgages.
The Obama administration is seeking to wind down Fannie and Freddie.
An agency spokeswoman declined comment on the proposal.