American investor George Soros made an $80 million gamble on Comverse, purchasing 5.1% of the company's shares over the past few days - enough to make him an interested shareholder.
Soros made the purchase through his family investment fund, Soros Fund Management. The fund also owns shares of the Chinese Internet company Alibaba, Bank of America, Pfizer, Ford, CitiBank, seed company Monsanto, Brazilian gas giant Petrobras and AT&T.
Soros bought 10.4 million shares of Comverse. The precise date of purchase wasn't made public, but the shares are currently worth $7.55 each.
Comverse's shares are being sold over the counter, as opposed to on the regular market. It was tossed off the market and onto the pink sheets in the wake of a massive backdating scandal that came to light in 2006 and sent its founder, Kobi Alexander, fleeing to Namibia. He's still there, fighting extradition to the United States.
In fact, the company's financials are still a bit of an unknown: It hasn't published full financial statements since then, and is expected to do so only in August.
The scandal pummeled the company's share price, and also cost it quite a bit. It spent $117 million between February and April, part of that on preparing new financial statements. And as it works its way past the scandal, Comverse recently agreed to a settlement in a class-action suit that will have it paying $165 million in damages.
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