December 13, 2007 / 8:09 PM / 12 years ago

Major Leap Wireless stockholder raises stake

WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Harbert Management Corp has boosted its stake in mobile phone service provider Leap Wireless International Inc LEAP.O to 12.3 percent with open-market stock purchases of more than $23.6 million, according to on Thursday.

Harbert, an asset management firm, bought the shares from Dec. 6 through Dec. 11 at prices ranging from $36.66 to $41.62, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The purchases make Harbert the third-largest shareholder of Leap, behind MHR Fund Management and T.Rowe Price, filing tracker said in a research note.

The recent transactions continue Harbert’s pattern of aggressively buying Leap stock. The fund owned no shares in the company at the end of the second quarter of this year, then acquired 2.92 million shares in the third quarter.

The note said Harbert doubled its Leap stake during the first two weeks of October, and later upped its stake to 7.8 million shares by the end of November.

Leap said last month that it would not file its quarterly report on time because it needed to restate past financial reports.

Leap shares fell 80 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $34.50 on Nasdaq at mid-afternoon. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski, editing by Richard Chang)

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