Just days after winning a critical extension from its most important partner and customer, Harbinger Capital Management's wireless Internet venture has won a further reprieve from Sprint Nextel Corp.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said yesterday that his company and LightSquared have agreed to put their $13.5 billion deal on hold until the latter wins the needed regulatory approvals. LightSquared needs the Federal Communications Commission to sign off on its plans before it can deploy its network, which Sprint was to build, but has run into stiff opposition from global positioning system users and manufacturers, who warn that LightSquared could interfere with such devices.
Hesse said that he still hoped that LightSquared, into which Harbinger founder Philip Falcone has poured the majority of his hedge fund's assets, would win the necessary approvals.
"The companies have agreed to realigning our deployment timeline to coincide with potential FCC actions," a Sprint spokesman said. "Both companies believe it is prudent to pull back on expenses."
A recent internal report indicates that LightSquared is running out of money. The company has already paid Sprint $290 million.