Bets on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac's Failure

Gross says no, Sorkin says yes.


Bets are on for the future of Fannie and Freddie:

Bill Gross, chief investment officer at bond giant Pimco, tell Reuters again that a Treasury bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac isn't imminent, and said last week that, "The election season and the relatively recent passage of the (Treasury) authorization argue for delay as long as possible," though he notes both will have to keep selling notes and debt at "relatively stable spreads." (via FT Alphaville)

Meanwhile, Andrew Ross Sorkin, in his latest column at DealBook, says:

A brief forecast on Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac: Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. will nationalize them within the next two weeks, but he won't wipe out all the stakeholders, even if they deserve to be. The debt holders and the preferred shareholders will make out like bandits. A "moral hazard" will always exist, but the government may end up saving some of the rich to save the poor.

Sorkin's other predictions: Lehman Bros. is too important to fail.

Lastly, DealBreaker's John Carney points to an FT story over the weekend noting that regional banks and insurers hold the majority of Fannie and Freddie's $36 billion in preferred stock. If those shareholders take it on the chin, it likely means the financial sector will be in for yet another disproportionately large hit.

Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae
Treasury Department
  • Kirk Shinkle

    Kirk Shinkle is a senior editor for U.S. News Money and manages the Best Funds portal. Follow him on Twitter @KirkS or email him at

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