fund manager and former star hockey player at Harvard
University Philip Falcone revealed in a regulatory filing
on Tuesday that he had taken
a 9.48 percent stake (16 million shares) in mobile
handset maker Palm. Falcone is known as an activist investor
with his share of ups and downs. In 2007 he became famous when
he bet against subprime mortgages and his funded doubled. In
2008, he reportedly posted a double digit loss after betting wrong on
oil prices and being unable to short sell certain stocks thanks to
new laws. In 2009, though, he recouped posting a 45 percent
gain.After the announcement of Falcone's stake, Palm share
jumped 10 percent, then settled down to a gain of 3.1 percent.Palm
can use all the help it can get. Its stock is in shambles and
it has a huge backlog of unsold handsets, which took take over a year
to sell. Palm's production is currently halted and there's no
new handsets known to be in store for the second half of the
year.The company is resorting to fire
sale tactics on the Verizon network, selling its Pre Plus
smart phones at two for $49.99 and its Pixi Plus smart phones at two
for $29.99 thanks to a price drop and Verizon's "Buy One Get
One" promotion. More incredibly, on Amazon.com you can get
a single Pre Plus handset for
$0.01 (the phone retails without contract for $699.99).
That phone also comes with free 3G hotspot capabilities (as do all
Palm smart phones on Verizon's network).Palm CEO Jon
optimistic that the company will pull through this tough
time. The company has $590M USD in cash to weather the storm.
That cash also makes it an attractive acquisition target.
There's been rumors that Palm is looking to sell
itself to the highest bidder and that HTC was among the
interested parties.Palm currently sits in fifth place on the
smartphone market, behind Google, Microsoft, Apple and Research in
quote: it has a huge backlog of unsold handsets, which took take over a year to sell.