Activist Investing Isn't Berkowitz's Cup of Tea
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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Activist Investing Isn't Berkowitz's Cup of Tea

Bruce Berkowitz may have dived into an activist investor role with St. Joe Co., but he may not do it again with other investments. The Fairholme Capital Management [see profile] chief and star PM told InvestmentNews' Jessica Toonkel that he and his team "would think long and hard about doing it again" if the question of taking such an activist role came up again.

"I didn't realize how interesting that Fairholme being a mutual fund and my being an activist would be for commentators," Berkowitz reportedly told the trade pub. (Fairholme controls almost 30 percent of St. Joe, and, after ousting St. Joe's CEO and three board members earlier this year, he took over the real estate developer as chairman.)

Berkowitz's InvestmentNews interview, and his Tuesday Bloomberg TV interview with Erik Schatzker, follow St. Joe's public revelation on Friday of an SEC probe [see The MFWire, 7/5/2011]. That probe covers a variety of questions, including some antifraud questions and some around reporting by big shareholders like Fairholme.

Talking with Bloomberg's Schatzker by phone, Berkowitz insisted that St. Joe was not forced to disclose the probe, but he said he wanted to make sure that, if its stock falls, the company will be able to repurchase shares to benefit shareholders.

"It was my decision as the chairman of St. Joe to put that 8-K out," Berkowitz said. "Normally this type of event is not broadcast."

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