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.
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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.

LightSquared's lenders Wednesday pressed their case that they should be allowed to go after Phil Falcone and his Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund firm for a July 2011 loan made to LightSquared, a transaction they say benefited Harbinger and could hurt other creditors. A lawyer for the lenders, owed more than $1.1 billion, said his group deserved the right to prosecute claims on behalf of LightSquared creditors, because the wireless satellite company is itself controlled by Harbinger and thus not in position to make the move.

According to Judge Shelly C. Chapman, it might be a while before she has an answer on account of there being "a lot of complicated issues" to sort through, while Richard Slack, a lawyer for Harbinger, argued that everyone should just calm down and give LightSquared some time because one day? It's going to be worth mucho dinero.

Mr. Slack, the Harbinger lawyer, cited an estimate that the company could be worth as much as $12 billion. Mr. Kurtz, the lenders' lawyer, called such a projection a "Hail Mary" estimate.

LightSquared Lenders Fight for Right to Go After Falcone [DowJones]

Related

Phil Falcone Is Turning His Life Around

To put it lightly, the last couple years have been a rather dark time for Phil Falcone. Though his woes are too numerous to mention in full, they include: the adversity he's faced in getting people to believe in LightSquared; his unbelievably pissy investors, who still aren't over the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated fund to pay personal taxes, or offered to pay out redemptions in illiquid LightSquared equity; the Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants him banned from the industry for life; the woman who once offered a respite from it all, who now won't even come out of her room when she knows he's home; and, of course, the plunging returns in his once highly profitable hedge fund. It would be enough to make a grown man say 'Fuck, it. I'm done.' Put a few things in a sack, tie it to the blade of a hockey stick, and hitchhike back to Minnesota. But Phil didn't do that and now? After a merciless storm of shit that felt like it would never ease up? After long days of investors and regulators breathing down his neck and nights of having to pound on the front door because he was accidentally purposely locked out of the house? The tide feels like it's turning for Philip Falcone. Beleaguered hedge fund honcho Phil Falcone’s big bet on his own publicly traded entity, Harbinger Group, is helping to lift his troubled hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Management, out of the deep end. Falcone’s flagship fund posted returns of 10.6 percent in July and a whopping 28 percent gain in June. Of course, he's still down 5.8 percent year-to-date, and the the director of the SEC's division of enforcement wants hedge fund graduate schools to use Harbinger as a case study during the unit on "how to operate a hedge fund unlawfully," but tonight? Tonight he tells Lisa to treat herself to something nice. Tonight he tells Wilbur to pull the baby grand out of the closet, where it's sat untouched for months. Tonight his key works in the lock. Tonight we dance. Phil Helps Himself [NYP]

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]

Who Wants To Invest In Phil Falcone's New Company?

Harbinger Global Corp is coming to an exchange near you. Phil Falcone, the embattled billionaire hedge fund manager, has put together an unorthodox IPO that will see his hedge fund firm contribute assets valued at $350 million to a blank check company that will trade publicly. In the deal, a special purpose acquisition company that is expected to trade on Nasdaq and be known as Harbinger Global Corp., will acquire a majority interest in an MGM-branded hotel and casino development in Vietnam and a minority interest in an iron ore producer working in Brazil. Funds run by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management that are contributing the assets will get an ownership stake that could be as high as 96% in Harbinger Global and Falcone is slated to become executive chairman of the company. Falcone’s move to become closely involved in a publicly-traded company is audacious given that he is currently facing securities fraud charges from the Securities & Exchange Commission. Yeah, well, people also thought it was audacious for him to invite a burlesque dancing pig he barely knew to come and live with him and she turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, so.

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?")

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]