Soros boosts Lehman stake to 9.5 million shares

WASHINGTON Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:58am EDT

George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, delivers his keynote address at the InterAction 2007 forum in Washington, April 18, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed

George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, delivers his keynote address at the InterAction 2007 forum in Washington, April 18, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros hiked his stake in Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers LEH.N to 9.5 million shares as of June 30 from 10,000 shares, according to a U.S. regulatory filing on Thursday.

Soros disclosed the quarter-over-quarter increase in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Soros raised his stake in Lehman ahead of a turbulent month for the investment bank, whose shares plunged in mid-July amid a broader sell-off in financials sparked by concern about government-backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N.

Lehman shares rose 63 cents, or 4.1 percent, to close at $16.20 before the news. They are down 18 percent since the end of June and off 75 percent so far this year.

A Lehman Brothers spokesman declined to comment. Officials at Soros' fund could not immediately be reached.

Based on Lehman's share count in its most recent quarterly filing, the 9.5 million shares would be equivalent to a 1.4 percent stake.

(Reporting by John Poirier, editing by Mark Porter and Phil Berlowitz)

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