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The Only Thing That Keeps Phil Falcone Up At Night Is Counting All The Money He’s Going To Make Off Of LightSquaredBy Bess Levin
From outward appearances, the past couple years have been a stressful time for Phil Falcone. After making billions of dollars for himself and for his investors on subprime, the Harbinger Capital Partners founder provoked the ire of many a client by tying up a good chunk of their money in a wireless start-up called LightSquared (a company the Federal Communications Commission is no fan of, due to the fact that it reportedly interferes with GPS devices used on land, sea, and in outer space), by borrowing $113 million from a gated fund in order to pay personal taxes, and by only allowing certain investors (Goldman Sachs) to get out while freezing redemptions for others and then telling them they could leave if they found some else to pick up their stake. Assets under management at Harbinger have dropped $23 billion, from a peak of $26 billion. For a variety of reasons, the Securities and Exchange commission wants to see him banned from the industry. A worried Bloomberg News reporter recently revealed he has a problem with pit stains (“[his] shirt appeared darker under the arms in his office last month”), which wouldn’t pose an issue were his shirt supply not dwindling rapidly (“One place Falcone is visiting less frequently is Domenico Vacca, the New York boutique where suits retail for $3,900 and shirts $490, according to a person with knowledge of his purchases. He orders every four or five months [now] compared with every two or three months between 2006 and 2009″).
For all these reasons and more (like, say, a sensitive and highly-strung pig who is not happy), some people might assume that Falcone would at best be in deep contemplative mode regarding how things got this far and at worst be freaking the fuck out, particularly over the possibilities that 1) the SEC is going to file civil fraud charges against him and 2) if LightSquared doesn’t pan out, he’s going to lose a whole lot of money. Those people, however, would be wrong. Not only is he not at all worried that his passion project won’t be a success (“I am not losing sleep on this — why would I lose sleep?” he asked Bloomberg. “I still believe that we had a great, and we still do have a great vision”), but he dares anyone to come up with a good reason for why he’s not going to make $20+ billion on this thing.
“This is not for the faint of heart,” Falcone said. “I’ve never looked at it as having $4 billion or $25 billion as defining Philip Falcone. But who’s to say I won’t get back to $25 billion?”
What? It could happened. You don’t know.
Falcone Waits for Icahn Doubling Down on Network [Bloomberg]