By Matthew Goldstein
It’s no secret that LightSquared and Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners long have been joined at the hip–especially since the $5 billion hedge fund is the wireless telecom’s biggest equity investor. And a recent financial statement for the Falcone-backed start-up makes it clearer than ever just how closely linked are the fortunes of LightSquared and Harbinger.
As we reported, the LightSquared document reveals that on July 1 the company got $263.8 million in new financing, of which $183.8 million came from hedge funds controlled by Harbinger and Falcone. The hedge fund is getting 2.9 million in warrants to purchase additional shares in LightSquared, which is facing the prospect of running-out of cash during the second-quarter of 2012.
On July 5, LightSquared issued a press release trumpeting that it had just secured $265 million in additional financing. The press release said the “capital was drawn from both existing investors as well as new investors in the company.” But it made no mention that more than 60 percent of the new source of funds was coming from Harbinger-controlled hedge funds. (The other unnamed “lenders” also got 1.3 million warrants to buy LightSquared shares).
Now maybe everyone assumed that Harbinger was once again the deep-pocket for LightSquared. But the press release gave the impression that the company was making headway in expanding its investor base.
The July 5 press release also came at a critical time for LightSquared as it had just secured a long-term networking deal with Sprint. The financing news also came as complaints about how LightSquared’s broadcast spectrum interfered with GPS devices began to mount.
Now it looks like those interference concerns may put LightSquared’s future in real jeopardy. The company has asked the FCC to move quickly on determining just how how big an issue the interference problem is.
For LightSquared and Harbinger the clock is ticking.