Harbinger Boosts Cablevision Stake

Harbinger Capital, the New York hedge fund that threw Cablevision management into a bit of a tizzy when they began buying up shares of the cable operator earlier this year, has nearly doubled its holdings according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday.

In a 13-D filing late Thursday, Harbinger revealed that it owns an 8.1% stake in Cablevision, or about 18.9 million shares. That’s up 65% from the 11.45 million shares (4.9%) the company revealed it owned as of June 30 in its quarterly filings earlier in August.

Many analysts believe it was Harbinger’s interest in Bethpage, N.Y.-headquartered Cablevision that prompted the company to announce that it would look for alternatives to increase shareholder value. Cablevision’s board authorized management to explore several options, including share repurchases, asset sales and spinoffs. On Aug. 15, Cablevision said its board had authorized a 10-cent per share regular quarterly dividend, the first time the company had ever offered one.

Harbinger is known as an activist investor and in the past had accumulated positions in media companies to win board seats.

In the filing Thursday, Harbinger continued buying Cablevision stock even as their initial position was made public and Cablevision stock began to rise. According to the SEC document, two Harbinger funds – Harbinger Capital Master Fund I and Harbinger Capital Partners Special Situation Fund – bought 5.28 million shares and 2.6 million shares of the stock between Aug. 11 and Aug. 20. The two funds bought the stock in August at prices ranging from $29.81 to $31.79 per share. 

Cablevision stock closed at $32.46, down 10 cents each on Aug. 21. The stock, though, is up more than 50% since July 30, when Cablevision revealed it would explore alternatives to boost value