Evil Incarnate Thinks LightSquared Is Great

As those of you who keep up with the trials and travails of hedge fund manager Phil Falcone, a wireless start-up called LightSquared is his baby and the thing that stands to make or break him. To that end, Falcone's invested a significant amount of time, energy, and, most importantly, investor money in seeing his baby succeed. Unfortunately, in the last year or so, LightSquared has been met with some significant setbacks, namely with regard to GPS interference it is said to cause. The yachting community worries that said interference will cause boats to get lost at sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says LightSquared“may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses.” The FAA put out a study that estimates LS "may cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation." To all of that and more, one man asks, "Yeah, AND???" More Job Killer Than Creator By Karl Rove ...after nearly a decade of regulatory “green lights,” the Obama administration reversed itself and started proceedings to kill LightSquared’s ambitious plan to upgrade the U.S. cellular infrastructure. Why? Because at the eleventh hour, concerns were raised about potential interference with GPS devices — interference that occurs because these devices are listening into the part of the spectrum licensed to LightSquared....This will have consequences. Consumers will lose the chance to get better, cheaper wireless service. Owners of tablets, smartphones and other new devices won’t get faster downloads and greater bandwidth. The country would miss out on a valuable infrastructure improvement based on cutting-edge technology. Thousands of workers in construction, steel, transportation and other industries won’t get work, along with the good paychecks that a privately funded $14 billion project like this generates. Why? Because the Obama administration, which first endorsed and encouraged LightSquared, has now reversed course and gutted it. Given that this is the slowest, most anemic recovery from any recession since World War II, you might expect the administration to be eager to encourage companies to invest in creating jobs, making the economy more productive and increasing economic growth...But based on what it’s done to Keystone XL and now LightSquared, you’d be wrong. All because of some eleventh hour concerns about planes crashing. More job-killer than job-creator [Politico]
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As those of you who keep up with the trials and travails of hedge fund manager Phil Falcone, a wireless start-up called LightSquared is his baby and the thing that stands to make or break him. To that end, Falcone's invested a significant amount of time, energy, and, most importantly, investor money in seeing his baby succeed. Unfortunately, in the last year or so, LightSquared has been met with some significant setbacks, namely with regard to the GPS interference experts claim it will cause. The yachting community worries that said interference will cause boats to get lost at sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says LightSquared“may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses.” The FAA put out a study that estimates LS could "cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation." To all of that and more, one man asks, "AND???"

More Job Killer Than Creator

By Karl Rove

...after nearly a decade of regulatory “green lights,” the Obama administration reversed itself and started proceedings to kill LightSquared’s ambitious plan to upgrade the U.S. cellular infrastructure. Why?

Because at the eleventh hour, concerns were raised about potential interference with GPS devices — interference that occurs because these devices are listening into the part of the spectrum licensed to LightSquared....This will have consequences. Consumers will lose the chance to get better, cheaper wireless service. Owners of tablets, smartphones and other new devices won’t get faster downloads and greater bandwidth. The country would miss out on a valuable infrastructure improvement based on cutting-edge technology. Thousands of workers in construction, steel, transportation and other industries won’t get work, along with the good paychecks that a privately funded $14 billion project like this generates. Why?

Because the Obama administration, which first endorsed and encouraged LightSquared, has now reversed course and gutted it. Given that this is the slowest, most anemic recovery from any recession since World War II, you might expect the administration to be eager to encourage companies to invest in creating jobs, making the economy more productive and increasing economic growth...But based on what it’s done to Keystone XL and now LightSquared, you’d be wrong.

Why? All because of some eleventh hour concerns about planes crashing which you think wouldn't be a big deal but apparently would be wrong. Unbelievable.

More job-killer than job-creator [Politico]

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Bonus Watch '13: LightSquared

LightSquared is a wireless venture that seeks to create "convenient connectivity for all." Unfortunately, as the Wilbur Falcone fans among us know, it's looking like it'll be a dark day in hell before that happens, on account of bunch of forces working together to shut this thing down at every turn, including but not limited to the yachting community that claims GSP interference caused by LS will result in boats getting lost at sea; the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, which has said LightSquared "may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses"; and the FAA, which recently put out a study estimating LS could “cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation.” Also not helping is that LightSquared filed for bankruptcy in May, the company is blowing through cash faster than Wilbur's Studio 54 days, and senior executives won't stop quitting. While some people might take stock of the situation and decide, at this point, to throw in the towel, Wilbur Falcone's benefactor is not some people. He's making this thing work if it's the last thing he does. So, what to do? Obviously a couple of miracle workers are going to be needed and the thing about miracle workers is that they don't come cheap. Gotta spend money to make money. Troubled wireless-satellite company LightSquared wants permission to dole out up to nearly $6 million in cash bonuses to four of its top employees, including its interim chief executive. Recent months have seen LightSquared burn through money--it has spent $134.3 million since filing for bankruptcy in May, according to its most recent monthly operating report, and executives alike. In court papers filed Wednesday, LightSquared said four senior executives have left the company in the past six months, including its former chairman of the board and CEO. The company wants to make sure four "irreplaceable employees" stick with the company as it attempts to claw its way out of bankruptcy protection and help to make the reorganization as fast and cheap as possible. LightSquared's bonus proposal paves the way for a "total possible cash payout of approximately $5.985 million" over two years, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Four employees--interim CEO, president and chairman of the board Douglas Smith; Chief Financial Officer Marc R. Montagner; general counsel Curtis Lu; and its executive vice president, regulatory affairs & public policy Jeffrey Carlisle--would be eligible for incentives consisting of cash and restricted stock units paid in shares of the company's current common stock. If the executives satisfy cash preservation goals, make progress in LightSquared's efforts to resolve certain regulatory issues and emerge from bankruptcy by the end of 2013, they'll receive vesting of all issued stock and "aggregate incentive payments of cash up to 285% of each such key employee's annual salary," LightSquared said. Hitting less aggressive goals, like exiting bankruptcy by the end of June 2014, would come with smaller payouts, like a cash bonus equal to 100% of the executives' annual salary, in the case of the mid-2014 bankruptcy exit. Mr. Smith currently makes $700,000 annually; Mr. Montagner and Mr. Lu $500,000 each; and Mr. Carlisle $400,000. LightSquared said each of the employees "provides critical services, drives performance, and impacts LightSquared's ability to enhance value in the Chapter 11 cases." The group has also had to take on extra work recently, as more and more employees have left LightSquared both voluntarily and involuntarily. The company said its total employee headcount has dropped by 60% in the last six months. The bonus plan aims to motivate the company's leaders to manage its businesses and working capital effectively and maximize the value of the estate for the benefit of all stakeholders, LightSquared said. LightSquared Seeks to Pay Key Executives up to $6M in Bonuses [DowJones]

The Only Thing That Keeps Phil Falcone Up At Night Is Counting All The Money He's Going To Make Off Of LightSquared

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 at worst be freaking the fuck out, particularly over the possibilities that 1) the SEC is going to file civil fraud charges 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 work out ( “I am not losing sleep on this -- why would I lose sleep?” he asked Bloomberg), but he dares anyone to come up with a 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]

Harbinger Capital-Backed LightSquared: What If We Told You We Could Build A Wireless Network That Doesn't Kill People Via GPS Interference? Does That Sound Like Something You'd Be Interested In?

As many of you know, the last year or so has been a pretty tough one for Phil Falcone. In addition to a civil suit against him by Harbinger Capital investors, DWAI's on the home front, and the pesky matter of being charged with securities fraud by the SEC, which would like to see him banned from the industry, what's really been plaguing him has been the opposition encountered by LightSquared, his dream and the thing he's more or less staked all his and his investors' money on. Before it entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, the most serious charge against the company was that while it may seek to create "convenient connectivity for all," in doing so, the odds are high it would GPS interference that would result in boats getting lost at sea; "degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers, and help build flood defenses"; and, according to the FAA, "cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation." Now, four months later, the would-be wireless network has come back with a plan: LightSquared, but without all the bad parts (for now). Philip Falcone's LightSquared on Friday made a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission that the company hopes will solve the regulatory issues surrounding its wireless satellite network and help it build its business faster without abandoning its long-term goals...LightSquared filed to modify its license application so it can use its five megahertz of spectrum that haven't caused GPS worries. It also seeks to use another five that it would share with federal-government users. The other filing, a rulemaking petition, calls for LightSquared to forego using the "upper" 10 MHz that have caused GPS concerns. In the meantime, it still wants the FCC to consider use of that 10 MHz but agreed to wait for and cooperate with "operating parameters and revised rules for terrestrial use of this spectrum." Don't get them wrong, they *want* to use the stuff that's possibly GSP harmful, but in the meantime will be happy to use the stuff that isn't, if that works for everyone. LightSquared Proposes Sharing Wireless Network With Government [DowJones]

Phil Falcone Reveals Genius New Plan (Update)

LightSquared is a wireless venture that seeks to create “convenient connectivity for all." But those of you who've been keeping up know that to one man, it's so much more. That man, of course, being hedge fund manager Phil Falcone. LightSquared is his dream. His baby. His world. His everything. And, because he has poured his heart, soul, and firm's money into LightSquared, it is also the thing that stands to make or break Harbinger Capital. Success will mean billions for Falcone and his investors. Failure will mean Wilbur Falcone selling her eggs to a barren couple willing to pay top dollar for the DNA of a blue-eyed classically trained singer with an IQ of 150 and legs like Tina Turner. Unfortunately, things have not been going so well for LightSquared. The yachting community worries that GPS interference caused by LS will result in boats getting lost at sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says LightSquared“may degrade precision services that track hurricanes, guide farmers and help build flood defenses.” The FAA put out a study that estimates LS could “cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation.” The only person defending the thing (besides Phil) is Karl Rove. Meanwhile, the SEC wants to see Falcone banned from the industry, Bloomberg News has put a reporter on the "Phil Falcone Pit Stains" beat, and his investors, for the most part, despise him for petty reasons that no rational adults would ever get upset about, like borrowing $113 million from a gated fund in order to pay personal taxes and tying up much of their capital in a side project building walkie-talkies that might not pan out on account of the growing opinion that it might kill a few people. At this time, a lesser man might decide to cut his losses and/or look within and say "Maybe my investors aren't the problem, maybe I'm the problem." Phil Falcone is no such man. He's figured out a few things and what they boil down to is that his impatient, pissy investors are what is standing in the way of LightSquared soaring, which it will, when it is ready. And if those pricks won't agree to stick around for an investment time horizon of inifinty, he'll find people who will. Harbinger Capital Partners' Philip Falcone, speaking at the SALT hedge-fund conference Wednesday in Las Vegas, hinted at an initial public offering, CNBC's Kate Kelly reported. "Harbinger is actually considering getting more permanent capital," Falcone said, according to Kelly, who said it suggests a potential IPO. "I'm moving toward a more permanent capital vehicle. We need to focus more on control," Falcone said, according to Kelly. No one said going from not having the cash to cover taxes to $25 billion was going to be easy. Harbinger's Falcone hints at potential IPO -CNBC [MarketWatch] Update: Falcone claims to have no idea what CNBC is talking about (asking Fox Business, "What the fuck would I IPO?")

Phil Falcone Hasn't Given Up On LightSquared

...and he hopes investors haven't either, not that they have much choice in the matter. If recent performance has been difficult to swallow, comfort thyself with the fact that lots of things get worse before they get better. Falcone is giving this thing 150% and its genius will reveal itself in due time. Hedge fund manager Philip Falcone's clients got another dose of bad news when the billionaire investor said his flagship fund lost 29.6 percent in February largely because of ailing telecommunications company LightSquared Inc...Falcone often takes his time, relative to other hedge fund managers, in releasing monthly performance numbers...Falcone, who has bank rolled the company by having invested over $3 billion, held out hope for LightSquared's future when he told investors on an investor call in mid-February that he remained committed to the project. [Reuters]

LightSquared Creditors Seek Permission To Go After Mrs. Phil Falcone's Shoe Collection

Remember Phil Falcone? Hedge fund manager about yea high? Cuts his hair like he's still playing professional hockey? Is betting the farm on a company called LightSquared that "seeks to create connectivity for all" but in doing so might "cost 794 lives in aviation accidents over 10 years with disruptions to satellite-aided navigation" and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May? Anyway, LightSquared's creditors were in court today asking for the right to go after Big Phil/Harbinger, who they believe screwed them big time.