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Buffett Says Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac ’Game Is Over’

Buffett Says Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac ’Game Is Over’

Bloomberg
August 22, 2008

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage finance companies, “don’t have any net worth,’’ billionaire investor Warren Buffett said.

“The game is over’’ as independent companies said Buffett, the 77-year-old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in an interview on CNBC today. “They were able to borrow without any of the normal restraints. They had a blank check from the federal government.’’

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae touched 20-year lows yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange on speculation a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won approval from Congress last month to pump emergency capital into the companies, which account for more than half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.

Fannie and Freddie mispriced their products and “kept existing because they had the federal government behind them,’’ Buffett said. Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire had been among the largest holders of Freddie until about 2001, when it became apparent the company wasn’t being run well, he said.

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Jim Cramer Talks About Market Manipulation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SptB3STL5rs

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