Fairholme Capital Management LLC increased its stake in American International Group Inc to 26.6 percent, deepening the fund's role in the insurer as it prepares to emerge from U.S. government support. Fairholme Manager Bruce Berkowitz already held a 24 percent stake in AIG, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The incremental increase in Fairholme's AIG holdings is another step in Berkowitz's support of the insurer, as AIG tries to restore its financial stability. Fairholme, already AIG's largest private shareholder, said last week that it planned to invest about $1 billion in the initial public offering of AIA Group Ltd, AIG's Asian life insurance unit.
Last month, as AIG unveiled its plan to accelerate the payback of U.S. government bailout money, Berkowitz disclosed that he had signed a confidentiality and standstill agreement with the insurer, which analysts interpreted as a sign that he was willing to put up additional capital for AIG. He has spent about $2 billion this year buying AIG common shares, preferred shares and bonds. Fairholme said it had about $18 billion of assets under management as of Sept. 30.