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Whales win with AT&T, Leap Wireless deal

Leap Wireless shares almost doubled in after-hours trading Friday following news that AT&T will buy the wireless provider for $15 per share in cash, or just under $1.2 billion, much to the delight of some of the biggest whales on Wall Street.

No, not the large aquatic mammals! We're referring to the most influential or the wealthiest investors, also known as "whales," including John Paulson, Boaz Weinstein and Mark Rachesky, all of whom own a stake in Leap Wireless.

Hedge fund billionaire Paulson stands to benefit the most, though. The famed investor owns 7.8 million shares of Leap, making him the top institutional shareholder.

And this is just the latest big telecom win for Paulson. He was also the biggest single holder in MetroPCS, which just closed its merger with T-Mobile on May 1. Meantime, he's the second-largest intuitional shareholder in Sprint, with 231.1 million shares, which rose some 2 percent after-hours.

Before the announcement, shares of Leap closed at $7.98. They have almost doubled in after-hours trading and are now above the purchase price, indicating investors believe another bidder may emerge with a higher offer.

Professional trader Guy Adami suggested another offer may be in the works. After all, he noted the stock was trading at roughly $48 a share in September 2008.

"Knowing nothing about the deal, I wonder if this is the first and last chapter of this. I'm not certain that it is," Adami said. "I'm not saying that you should go buy Leap on Monday at $15 and change or whatever it's going to be now, but I get the feeling that there are going to be a few iterations of this before it's over."

Pro trader Josh Brown agreed.

"A lot of these guys have gone after [Leap] before," Brown said, adding that he "wouldn't be shocked" if one of these hedge fund titans fought to take Leap over.

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm and John Melloy. Follow them on Twitter @DrewSandholm and @CNBCMelloy.

-—CNBC.com contributed to thisreport

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