Harbinger Falls 29% In Wake Of LightSquared Troubles

Mar 28 2012 | 3:18am ET

The federal government's decision to block deployment of its wireless Internet venture has led Harbinger Capital Partners nearly to the brink.

The New York-based hedge fund lost 29.6% in February, Reuters reports, as the Federal Communications Commission moved to pull the plug on LightSquared, which accounts for more than half of Harbinger's investments, and Sprint Nextel Corp. abandoned a $13.5 billion deal with the company. Harbinger Capital Partners Fund II is down 26.7% in the first two months of the year; the fund lost 47% last year.

If this year's losses, like last year's, are attributable to further write-downs of LightSquared's value, the company could have a carrying value as low as $500 million, down from $3 billion.

Last month, Harbinger chief Philip Falcone said that the write-downs were the decision of the hedge fund's outside auditors, and would be only temporary, pending a turnaround in LightSquared's fortunes. LightSquared has appealed the FCC ruling, which was based on tests that found LightSquared's network interfered with global positioning systems.

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