Two weeks back, Phil Falcone resigned from the board of LightSquared Inc, the bankrupt wireless-spectrum owner he has poured his heart and soul into over the last god-knows-how-many years. He still owns a piece of the company, of course, but now that he’s no longer a director, he’s got a lot more time on his hands to focus on other pursuits, with same level of dedication he previously gave to his old passion project. And now that his waking hours don’t involve dealing with naysayers who would put “may cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation” in the column for why LightSquared should never see the light of day, he’s got a new dream. And that dream involves weed control, potted plants, and yes, bird feeders, too.
Philip Falcone is close to mounting a $1.1bn unsolicited offer for one of the US’s largest lawn seed producers, in what would mark a return to dealmaking by the high-profile hedge fund manager. Harbinger Group, the New York fund of which Mr Falcone is chief executive, will make a public offer to buy Central Garden & Pet for about $10 a share in cash after months of failing to agree a deal in private, according to people familiar with the matter. High quality global journalism requires investment. A takeover of CG&P, which sells outdoor goods ranging from weedkiller to aviaries, comes less than a year after Mr Falcone and Harbinger agreed an $18m settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after admitting to misusing customer funds to pay personal taxes. The settlement became a test case for the SEC’s ability to hold companies and individuals more accountable. As well as a straightforward offer for the whole of CG&P, which would value it at about $1.1bn including debt, Harbinger is also exploring making an offer for just the pet division, worth about $750m in cash, according to people familiar with the matter.