LightSquared Inc. filed for bankruptcy after its plan to deliver high-speed wireless to as many as 260 million people ran afoul of U.S. regulators. LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, listed debt and assets of more than $1 billion each in a Chapter 11 filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The filing came after intense negotiations with creditors, who had requested that the company’s backer, Philip Falcone, step aside. Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone’s New York-based hedge fund, had invested about $3 billion in LightSquared and owned about 74 percent of it as of Jan. 27. Falcone also had served on LightSquared’s board. Creditors asked for Falcone’s departure when they gave the company a weeklong extension on April 30 to stave off a default and keep trying to renegotiate its debt, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. [Bloomberg]
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]
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.
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]