Prem Watsa, who patterns his value investments after Warren Buffett, said his Canadian insurance company may buy more shares of Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) after Watsa was appointed to the board of the BlackBerry maker,
Watsa, 61, was named a RIM director late yesterday as part of an executive shuffle that saw co-Chief Executive Officers Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis step down. Watsa’s Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH) owned 3.4 million RIM shares at the end of September, making it the fourth-largest investor, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We are looking at purchasing more” shares, said Paul Rivett, a Fairfax spokesman. Watsa, the Fairfax CEO and chairman, was travelling and unavailable to comment, Rivett said.
Born in Hyderabad, India, Watsa built Fairfax by investing the assets of insurance operations in out-of-favor securities. RIM, once the most valuable company in Canada, has lost 88 percent since its peak in 2008.
Fairfax benefited from declines in U.S. banks during the financial crisis, purchasing credit-default swaps on lenders. The swaps, instruments based on bonds and loans that are used to speculate on a company’s ability to repay debt, led to investment gains of $2.72 billion in 2008.
Shares of Toronto-based Fairfax have risen more than 25 times since May 1987, according to Bloomberg data. Fairfax rose 0.9 percent to C$418 at 12:28 p.m. in Toronto. The market value of C$8.96 billion tops RIM’s value of C$8.37 billion.