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Berkowitz’s Fairholme Leads Money Managers Buying BP Shares

Bruce Berkowitz led money managers buying shares in BP Plc last quarter, when the stock slumped following the explosion of the company’s well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Berkowitz’s Fairholme Capital Management LLC purchased 9.44 million of BP’s American depositary receipts during the second quarter, with a market value of almost $273 million as of June 30, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. Mackenzie Financial Corp., a unit of Canada’s IGM Financial Inc., and Renaissance Technologies LLC, the hedge-fund firm founded by James Simons, also bought the shares, according to Forms 13F filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The April 20 explosion caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history and reduced BP’s market value by almost half during the quarter. The spill was triggered when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which BP leased from Transocean Ltd., caught fire and sank, killing 11 workers. The shares have rebounded 35 percent this quarter.

BP is Fairholme’s only reported stake in an energy company. It accounted for about 2.5 percent of the $10.7 billion in U.S.- traded securities that the firm had under management at June 30.

Berkowitz, named U.S. stock manager of the decade by Morningstar Inc. in January, has been buying stocks in financial-service companies ranging from American International Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. to MBIA Inc., the largest U.S. bond insurer.

A call to Miami-based Fairholme after regular business hours wasn’t returned.

Renaissance Stakes

Renaissance, a New York firm that helped pioneered the use of computer models to guide investment strategies, held U.S.- traded energy stocks with a market value of $2.14 billion as of June 30, equaling about 9.4 percent of the total reported holdings in the filing. That compared with a 6.8 percent allocation as of March 31.

Renaissance bought new stakes in Chevron Corp., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Schlumberger Ltd. and the American depositary shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the Brazilian state-controlled energy producer, according to yesterday’s filing. Renaissance sold its shares of Suncor Energy Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. during the quarter, the filing shows.

Activist Carl Icahn disclosed earlier this month that his hedge-fund group invested about $929 million in energy stocks during the second quarter. The filing by Icahn Enterprises LP didn’t specify any of the targets. The energy bet helped his funds record an 8 percent gain in July, when oil stocks rebounded.

Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors Inc. sold all of its Transocean holdings during the second quarter. Omega, a New York-based hedge-fund manager, reported earlier this month that energy companies comprised about 21 percent of its U.S. traded stocks at June 30.

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