Harbinger Adds To Cablevision Stake

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New York hedge fund Harbinger Capital continues to beef up its position in Cablevision Systems, filing documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday showing that the activist investor now owns more than 21 million shares of the Bethpage, N.Y. MSO, or 9.1% of its outstanding stock.

This is the second time in less than a month that Harbinger has revealed its increased holdings in Cablevision. On Aug. 14, it revealed in an SEC quarterly filing that it owned about 11.5 million Cablevision shares as of June 30. On Aug. 21 it filed additional documents with the SEC disclosing that it had increased its Cablevision holdings to 18.95 million shares.

In the latest filing, Harbinger said it now controls 21.4 million Cablevision shares.

Harbinger is believed by many to be the catalyst for Cablevision’s announcement during its July 30 earnings conference call that it would seek ways to increase shareholder value. Cablevision said its board has authorized management to explore several options, including share repurchases, asset sales and spin-offs. On Aug. 15, the company said it would issue a 10-cent per share dividend to shareholders.

Harbinger has been known to be an activist investor, and has used its growing positions in companies like The New York Times Co. and Media General to win board seats and push for change. While Harbinger has been relatively silent since first revealing its initial Cablevision holdings, some analysts believe it is only a matter of time before the investor attempts to exert its influence.

Cablevision stock has been on a strong run since July 30. Although the shares dipped $1.28 each (4.1%) to $30.26 in Thursday trading—mainly due to an overall decline in the stock market—its shares are still up more than 40% ($9.01 per share) since July 30.

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