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Fairfax, partners to take stake in Bank of Ireland

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Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH-T) is injecting capital into the Bank of Ireland, allowing Ireland's oldest bank to be the only one of its peers to avoid nationalization.

Fairfax has put together a group of investors including U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross and Cardinal Capital Group, Fidelity, and Capital Research that will collectively buy a €1.1-billion stake (about $1.5-billion Canadian) in the bank, according to sources familiar with the deal. The bank has disclosed the sale of the stake, but has not named the investors.

The bank was told by the country's central bank in March that it needed to raise capital in order to deal with the damage that the nation's bursting real estate bubble had inflicted on its balance sheet.

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