Fairfax raises stake in Canada's Torstar to 22.7 pct

TORONTO, March 20 Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:37pm EDT

TORONTO, March 20 (Reuters) - Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd said on Thursday it has purchased an additional 3.4 percent of Torstar Corp, pushing its total holding in the Canadian newspaper company to 22.7 percent.

Fairfax, a Canadian insurer and investment firm run by well-known investor Prem Watsa, said in a statement the purchase of about 2.4 million Torstar shares at C$5.35 a share was for investment purposes.

Torstar owns the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper by circulation, as well as other publishing assets. Its stock closed at C$5.51 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Fairfax CEO Watsa has built a reputation as a shrewd contrarian investor by moves such as betting against the U.S. housing market in the last decade and reaping billions when the market collapsed.

Recently Fairfax has built a leading equity stake in struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry. (Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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