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Pentwater Capital Increases Stake in Leap Wireless to 5.7%

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Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Pentwater Capital Management LP, an investment firm that has pushed for Leap Wireless International Inc. to merge with MetroPCS Communications Inc., increased its stake in Leap to 5.7 percent.

The purchase was made on Aug. 19, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In July, the firm said that it had 3.3 percent of Leap, a pay-as-you-go wireless carrier based in San Diego.

Pentwater has repeatedly criticized Leap management for not doing enough to earn a return for shareholders. The Chicago-based firm has said that Leap made the wrong decision in turning away a 2007 MetroPCS bid, which management said undervalued the business. This month Pentwater complained that the company was letting Leap Chairman Mark Rachesky’s investment firm, MHR, take control of Leap without paying a premium for the shares.

Leap has struggled to compete in the wireless market, contributing to slowing sales growth and losses of more than $1 billion over the past five years. The company posted revenue of $760.5 million in the second quarter, missing analysts’ estimates, and it reported a drop in customers.

Leap climbed 42 cents, or 5 percent, to $8.84 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

The shares have dropped 28 percent this year. MHR has taken advantage of the decline to scoop up Leap stock, increasing its stake to almost 30 percent. Pentwater has called on Leap to adopt a shareholder-rights plan that would prevent a buyer from acquiring more than 27.5 percent of the company without the approval of the board.

Greg Lund, a spokesman for Leap, didn’t immediately return a request for comment, as did Pentwater’s Jeffrey Applebaum.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at okharif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles@bloomberg.net

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