Harbinger Grabs 9.5% of Palm's Shares

Harbinger Capital Partners LP has taken a 9.48 percent "passive" stake in ailing smartphone maker Palm Inc.

The share ownership was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Wednesday. Palm is still feeling the effect of the news with shares rising 3 percent -- or $0.16 -- to $5.48 each in morning trading Thursday.

Harbinger has been in the news recently with its own bid to get into the next-generation wireless scene in the US. The New York-based private equity firm completed its buyout of SkyTerra Communications (Nasdaq: SKYT) and announced plans at the end of March to create a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the US that other carriers can rent bandwidth from. (See Harbinger Preps LTE Via Satellite.)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless are both unhappy about the proposed network because Harbinger's plans restrict the amount of access they can rent. AT&T called the deal "targeted favoritism." (See LTE Watch: Harbinger Angers AT&T & Verizon .)

The Harbinger stake in this case, however, is a bet on the vendor's valuation if it succeeds in finding a willing buyer. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and others have been named as potential suitors in this latest round of speculation about the future of the PalmPilot pioneer. (See Huawei Linked to Possible Palm Bid.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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