Palm Gets a Major Investor in Harbinger: Is More in Store?

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Palm (PALM) shares jumped more than 8% in early afternoon trading after Harbinger Capital Partners disclosed that it has taken a 9.48% stake in the struggling smartphone maker, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.

For the noted hedge fund run by Philip Falcone, it's another bet in the wireless industry.

Last month, an affiliate of Harbinger completed its all-cash $262.5 million acquisition of SkyTerra Communications, taking the mobile satellite communications services company private. Harbinger paid a 56% premium over SkyTerra's closing price prior to the merger announcement, which carried a deal value of $1.85 billion.

Although the Palm investment is passive for Harbinger, it would be interesting should Falcone change that status and add the company to his plans to create a massive 4G wireless network with SkyTerra and and his other satellite investments.

With a Palm acquisition, Falcone would be able to move toward offering a soup-to-nuts solution for mobile consumers. SkyTerra intends to offer voice services on phones via its planned satellite and ground-based cellular communications network.

A spokeswoman for Harbinger declined to comment.
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