Monday, December 28, 2009

Lawsuit says top investor Harbinger bid unfairly

The Wall Street Journal is now reporting: "An aggrieved suitor in a 2006 bid to buy an appliance firm alleges that Harbinger Capital Partners, a prominent hedge fund that won the takeover battle, received nonpublic information about the rival bid and accumulated a big stake before the deal talks were made public, according to a preliminary ruling in the Delaware Chancery Court."

Harbinger owns 18.4 million shares of the NYTCo., according to its most recent federal regulatory filing, on Dec. 3 -- a stake that it's recently been reducing. That was equal to about 13% of all shares, based on the last 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In an earlier trimming of its holdings, Nov. 19, the NYT DealBook blog said Harbinger owned nearly 15% of all shares at the time. That was based on the 21 million it owned at that point, the November filing shows.

Today's WSJ story continues: "In a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and other claims related to its failed bid, Nacco Industries Inc. alleges that executives of takeover target Applica Inc. passed tips through a consultant working for Harbinger, a New York hedge fund run by Philip Falcone. Nacco sells Hamilton Beach-brand appliances."

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