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The Globe and Mail

Fairfax leads group buying Bank of Ireland shares: report

British media are reporting that Fairfax Financial Holdings is leading a group of private investors to buy €1.1-billion ($1.6-billion) worth of shares in Bank of Ireland.

The Irish Times is reporting that the investors also include New York buyout firm WL Ross and Co., which is controlled by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, and the Cardinal Capital Group.

Ireland's Department of Finance has not released the identities of the investors, and the Irish newspaper says calls to Fairfax seeking comment were not returned.

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The deal would help Bank of Ireland cover a capital shortfall of €5.2-billion identified in the stress tests earlier this year.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced Monday that the share sale would ensure that private owners will hold at least 68 per cent of Bank of Ireland shares at the conclusion on Tuesday of a €1.9-billion rights issue announced on July 11.

Fairfax is one of Canada's largest insurance and reinsurance groups. Shares in Fairfax lost $8.17 to $378.70 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

With files from the Associated Press

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