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Brit Grabs Bear Stake

A U.K. investor makes a big bet on the struggling brokerage firm.

Bear Stearns

(BSC)

rose 3% after investor Joseph Lewis said he took a 7% stake in the struggling broker over the past month.

Lewis, a U.K. citizen who resides in the Bahamas, said in a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

that he bought 8.1 million shares at prices between $103 and $150. The purchases were made between Aug. 6 and Sept. 7, the filing said. Lewis runs the Aquarian, Cambria, Darcin, Mandarin and Nivon investment vehicles, which are based in the Bahamas.

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Lewis said he took the stake for investment purposes.

The news comes as Bear and rivals like

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

have been hit hard by the collapse of the market for subprime mortgage-backed securities. Two hedge funds run by Bear went belly-up earlier this summer after losses tied to bad subprime bets. News of the hedge fund blowup has sent shares in Bear down 40% from their early-year peak.

The stock rose $3.03 early Monday to $108.40.