Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Harbinger Bets That Palm’s Hand Is Better Than You Think

Somebody, somewhere is going to buy Palm. And whoever that is will end up paying more for the company than the market thinks it’s worth today.

That’s the thinking behind hedge fund Harbinger Capital’s bet on the troubled smartphone maker: The New York-based investment group disclosed today that it has purchased 16 million shares of Palm (PALM). That’s a little less than 10 percent of the company, which is actively looking for buyers after flailing against Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone, Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry and Google’s (GOOG) Android.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing Harbinger’s investment doesn’t actually have much in the way of details. But it appears that Harbinger purchased its stake on or before April 12, the day news surfaced that Palm had hired bankers to shop the company.

If Harbinger sounds familiar to you, it may be because it’s one of the funds that bet on the New York Times (NYT) a couple years ago. That didn’t work out so well, but Harbinger was still up more than 45 percent last year, Reuters says.

More background on Palm.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald