Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Trims Two Positions ~ market folly

Friday, December 4, 2009

Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Trims Two Positions

Philip Falcone's hedge fund firm Harbinger Capital Partners just recently filed two separate amended 13D filings to detail changes to two of their portfolio positions. Firstly, we see that Falcone and his hedge fund have sold even more New York Times (NYT) shares. We just recently covered their NYT sale and it seems they are selling for the third time in the past four months. Most recently, they have sold 2,651,635 shares at a price of $8.35 according to Form 4 and amended 13D filings with the SEC. The transaction took place on December 1st, 2009 and they are now left with 18,386,799 shares in total which translates to a 12.79% ownership stake. So while they definitely still have a sizable stake in NYT, their two recent sales are notable.

In the past, we've taken a step back and wondered whether or not newspapers are a dying industry. Their business model uncertainty still continues and many are concerned. Yet again, Harbinger has sold shares at a loss. They initially acquired their stake between $15-20 per share almost two years ago when they invested over $500 million. Their current stake is down from their previous high of around 20% ownership of the company. We'll have to see if they continue to sell going forward, as in the past they had sought suitors for their NYT stake. We also note that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has a hefty position in NYT as well, so there are definitely some prominent players in NYT.

Secondly, Harbinger Capital Partners has again sold more shares of Solutia (SOA). This wind down has seemingly been in slow motion as they have been selling shares in SOA since back in June of this year. Their most recent sales were at the beginning of November and this time is no different. As per their recent amended 13D filing with the SEC, Philip Falcone's hedge fund now shows a 4.4% ownership stake in Solutia (SOA) with 5,391,200 shares owned. This means that within the past month, Harbinger has sold 2,867,853 more shares.

Philip Falcone runs his $6 billion hedge fund with a focus both on distressed and equity plays and often takes concentrated positions in companies. For more of their recent activity, we put up a post detailing a portfolio update and also covered the execution of their Calpine offering (CPN) as well. For more on Harbinger, you can check out some of their UK positions too.

Taken from Google Finance, The New York Times Company is a "diversified media company, including newspapers, Internet businesses, a radio station, investments in paper mills and other investments. The Company is organized in two segments: News Media Group and the About Group. Additionally, the Company owns equity interests in a Canadian newsprint company, a supercalendered paper manufacturing partnership in Maine, and Metro Boston LLC, which publishes a free daily newspaper in the greater Boston area."

Solutia is "a global manufacturer and marketer of a variety of chemical and engineered materials that are used in a range of consumer and industrial applications. The Company maintains a global infrastructure consisting of 25 manufacturing facilities, six technical centers and over 29 sales offices globally, including 14 facilities in the United States. The Company’s segments are Saflex, CPFilms and Technical Specialties."

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