You don’t hear too many folks suggesting that Fannie (FNM) and Freddie (FRE) have enough money anymore (except for this nutbag Citi analyst), and even the Democrats think the forthcoming bailout should wipe out shareholders. So it’s really just a question of when and how and how you define “wipe out”.
Most estimates of the cost of a bailout–in terms of capital injected into the companies–top out at around $40 billion, which once seemed breathtaking. If you’ve gotten comfortable that number, however, you might want to consider another one. Bennet Sedacca of Atlantic Advisors thinks the tab will end up being an order of magnitude higher:
When the Treasury peels back the onion, I believe they will find a hornet’s nest. I think we will see an initial bailout of $100 billion or so, with 2/3-3/4 going to Fannie (as it is a larger organisation). The scenario I foresee however, just as happened at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, is that they came to the financing window expecting to have borrowed enough, but then find they have to keep coming back repeatedly until the buyers go away or until “We The People” have thrown at least $500 billion at Fannie/Freddie to get them back on their feet again. This will also likely take an Act of Congress to raise the Treasury’s Debt ceiling quite dramatically.
(Quote courtesy of John Mauldin’s Outside the Box newsletter. Sign up here)
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