By betting against companies such as MBIA, Prem Watsa stroke gold. At the end of 2005, the company had $559 million in cash and investments, but more than twice as much long-term debt--about $1.4 billion. The numbers are now reversed: There's more cash and investments ($1.2 billion) than debt ($1.05 billion). The share price, which for so long traded far below book value, hit a nine-year high in October. As of Nov. 5, it was up 22% on the year, the eighth-best performance among the 280 financial services companies in the Bloomberg world U.S. financial index.
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