February 8, 2011 / 1:04 PM / in 10 years

STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Inmarsat up as stock overhang cleared

Shares in Inmarsat ISA.L gain 3.6 percent, the biggest FTSE 100 .FTSE riser, as Harbinger Capital Partners sells its remaining stake in the satellites operator, clearing an issue overhanging the stock, and prompting an upgrade in rating by BofA Merrill Lynch.

Private equity firm Harbinger says on Tuesday that it sold 64.28 million shares in Inmarsat , approximately 14 percent of the London-listed group’s issued share capital, of at a price of 670 pence each, raising gross proceeds of around 431 million pounds.

Merrill Lynch says the news is a positive for Inmarsat as it “removes the share overhang and helps clean up what has become an excessively complicated situation”.

As a result, the broker upgrades its rating for Inmarsat to “buy” from “neutral” and raises its target price to 850 pence from 770 pence.

CFD specialist Galvan research repeats its “buy” stance on Inmarsat.

“The real icing on the cake comes from the exit of stakeholder Harbinger, an event that lifts any uncertainty in terms of selling pressure on the stock price,” said Andrew Gibson, head of research at Galvan.

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Reuters Messaging rm://jon.hopkins.reuters.com@reuters.net

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