Harbinger ups ownership stake in Cablevision

Cablevision management might want to pick up their pace a little, because hedge fund Harbinger is gaining on them. Regulatory filings yesterday showed the activist investor, which likes to shake up the management of companies it has a stake in, increased its holdings to 8.1%, some 18.95 million shares of the Long Island-based company's Class A stock.

While the dual-class stock structure makes it nearly impossible to empty out Cablevision's executive suite, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator could find itself in the center of a high-profile media battle. Or, simply, with a couple of new board members ready to vote "no" when appropriate, ala the New York Times after Harbinger set its sights on the Gray Lady.

Harbinger could just be sending a not-so-subtle message that it's time for management--and CEO James Dolan especially--to be more responsive to shareholders. After all, it's not always a bad idea to speak softly when your carrying that big stick in the form of a sizeable ownership stake.

"They are sending a message that they want to play a role in the direction the company takes," said Thomas Eagan, an analyst at Collins Stewart.

For more:
See the Wall Street Journal story

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