Gabelli Goes Shopping for Cablevision Shares

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Gamco Investors, the group of mutual funds run by investment guru Mario Gabelli, went on a buying spree of Cablevision Systems stock from Oct. 3-Jan. 16, spending $31.6 million for about 1 million additional shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

According to a 13-D document filed with the SEC Tuesday, Gamco increased its Cablevision holdings from 18.5 million shares (or 8.1% of Cablevision’s outstanding stock) to 19.5 million (8.54%) during that time frame.

According to the filing, the Gamco funds spent $31.6 million to acquire the additional shares.

Although it was not revealed exactly when the Gamco funds purchased the shares, the company’s last 13-D filing outlining its Cablevision holdings was made Oct. 3, when it revealed that it owned 18.5 million Cablevision shares.

That was less than one week before Cablevision announced Oct. 8 that its ruling Dolan family had made a $7.9 billion ($27 per share) offer to take the company private. Although the Dolans subsequently raised their offer to $30 per share ($8.9 billion) Jan. 12, a special committee of Cablevision’s board of directors rejected the proposal as too low on the evening of Jan. 16.

Cablevision stock rose $5.51 each (24%) from Oct. 3-Jan. 16.

Gabelli’s blog entry on Gamco’s Web site earlier Jan. 16 apparently spurred the SEC filing. In that blog, Gabelli said he would favor a higher offer from the Dolan family or a sale of the cable company to Time Warner.

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