Bruce Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management filed a Schedule 13D notice Friday for its holding in American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG). It’s an interesting development. Fairholme’s previous AIG disclosure was a 13G, indicating a passive holding. The 13D may indicate that Fairholme intends to take an activist approach to AIG. It’s not entirely clear because the “Purpose” item contains somewhat unusual boilerplate:
The Reporting Persons have acquired their Shares of the Issuer for investment. The Reporting Persons evaluate their investment in the Shares on a continual basis. The Reporting Persons have no plans or proposals as of the date of this filing which, relate to, or would result in, any of the actions enumerated in Item 4 of the instructions to Schedule 13D.
The Reporting Persons reserve the right to be in contact with members of the Issuer’s management, the members of the Issuer’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), other significant shareholders and others regarding alternatives that the Issuer could employ to increase shareholder value.
The Reporting Persons reserve the right to effect transactions that would change the number of shares they may be deemed to beneficially own.
The Reporting Persons further reserve the right to act in concert with any other shareholders of the Issuer, or other persons, for a common purpose should it determine to do so, and/or to recommend courses of action to the Issuer’s management, the Issuer’s Board of Directors, the Issuer’s shareholders and others.
Berkowitz has earlier discussed his AIG position with Consuelo Mack on WealthTrack (via DailyMarkets.com). Berkowitz’s view of AIG at the time of the interview was as follows (at about 11.30):
A great company that stumbled for various reasons, that still has intact franchises, that still has the ability to repay tax payers, the New York Fed and the US Treasury, and will hopefully emerge a smaller, yet streamlined organization with [Charters], and the old SunAmerica, and with… It’s sad but some very valuable divisions will be sold: AIA, Alico… but we see the company has the ability to pay back tax payers over time.
Perhaps something has changed.