Fannie, Freddie Investors Lose Suits Over Lost Dividends

Bloomberg, By Margaret Cronin, Jody Shenn and Clea Benson

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investors lost their legal challenges to a change to the mortgage giants’ 2008 bailouts that sent their profits to the U.S. Treasury.

The lawsuits, among the first of almost 20 related cases to be decided, were filed by investors including Bruce Berkowitz, the head of Fairholme Capital Management LLC, who was named Morningstar Inc. (MORN)’s domestic stock manager of the decade for the 2000s, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Richard Perry’s Perry Capital LLC.

The investors sued for breach of contract over allegedly promised dividends and liquidation preferences, and what they called an illegal “taking” under the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected their claims yesterday, finding that the government is allowed under a 2012 amendment to the companies’ bailout agreements to sweep “nearly all” profits from Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac to the U.S. Treasury.

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