Activist hedge fund moves on Abitibi

Globe and Mail – A U.S. hedge fund with a reputation as an activist investor has become the biggest shareholder in AbitibiBowater Inc., putting added pressure on management at the struggling paper giant to find a speedy solution to its financial woes.

Seattle-based Steelhead Partners LLC revealed in a regulatory filing made Friday that it now holds 14.8 per cent of Abitibi’s shares. The fund has tripled its stake in the debt-heavy newsprint king in recent weeks, jumping to the head of the pack among Montreal-based Abitibi’s shareholders.

Steelhead first said in July that it had acquired 5 per cent of Abitibi’s shares, surpassing the threshold that required it to disclose its holdings under securities laws. Its stake had grown to 10 per cent in early January and almost 15 per cent by the end of the month, according to its most recent filing made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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