Falcone’s LightSquared Hits another Roadblock


LightSquared, hedge fund manager Phil Falcone’s venture to bring a national wireless service, had hit another roadblock.  Satellite telecommunications firm, Inmarsat PLC sent LightSquared a default notice yesterday because Inmarsat says they have not received a $56.3 million payment which was agreed upon when they began their partnership.

LightSquared fired back saying that Inmarsat has not completed the task that was agreed upon yet.  The company issued this statement on the issue: “LightSquared is committed to fulfilling its business plan to bring world-class wireless broadband connectivity to millions of Americans and believes that Inmarsat will remain an important partner in the company’s future endeavors”.

This whole incident comes only days after investors of Falcone’s Harbinger Capital are suing the hedge fund manager on the grounds that his LightSquared project was an “all in” investment that has cost quite a bit of money with very little to show for it.  Falcone used 60% of the money in his fund so go into the LightSquared venture.

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One of Harbinger Capital’s investors and leader of the lawsuit against Harbinger, Lili Schad said she did not know that LightSquared was taking up 60% of the fund that she invested $4 million with.  She filed a lawsuit with the hopes of being granted a class action suit so that all of the investors can get their money back.

As if these two alone were enough, the day before the lawsuit was filed, the US government blocked LightSquared from being able to start its service.  The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) said that the signals could interfere with GPS systems in planes and cars.

Separately from the LightSquared fiasco, Falcone and Harbinger were issued a “Wells Notice” by the SEC.  The SEC is going to be investigating the firm for market manipulation back in 2006-2008 when the firm made big money shorting mortgages and housing.

Obviously, Phil Falcone and his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital, are having a rough year so far.  The US government and his investors are on his back while his partners are giving him default letters, that’s a pretty rough couple of weeks if you ask me.  Unfortunately, he could be taking a huge loss with LightSquared.  I was never a fan of the hedge fund manager’s idea to go into a venture like this.  I think it takes way too much capital and it is not as simple as he thought it was going to be.  Investors will most likely win the suit and he will be forced to sell his LightSquared venture to raise the funds.

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