Falcone Mulling Bankruptcy For LightSquared

Apr 5 2012 | 12:21pm ET

Harbinger Capital Partners' Philip Falcone has changed his tune on a bankruptcy filing for the wireless Internet venture his hedge fund has backed with some $3 billion.

Falcone yesterday told Reuters that he is "seriously considering" a voluntary bankruptcy filing for LightSquared, among other options to save the troubled company. The Federal Communications Commission earlier this year said it would not approve the deployment of LightSquared's planned network, citing interference with global positioning systems.

Falcone has previously said that bankruptcy was "clearly not on our table."

LightSquared's troubles are to blame for a 47% loss for Harbinger, which has about 60% of its assets invested in the company, last year, and another 29.6% drop this year.

The company is mulling a lawsuit against the FCC to overturn its decision.

Falcone said that bankruptcy would not necessarily wipe out its shareholders, and would not hand full control to creditors, including Icahn Associates and Appaloosa Management, which, along with other debt holders, are considering a declaration of default against LightSquared. The Harbinger chief said that bankruptcy could help him salvage the company, adding that its share of the electromagnetic spectrum still retains value. He told Bloomberg News that, bankrupt or not, Harbinger will retain control of LightSquared.

"The rationale behind a voluntary filing is to complete the vision, to complete the plan to build the network and protect the company from the creditors who are more interested in a quick flip," he said.

"There are arguments that we would be better off in bankruptcy than not," Falcone told Bloomberg. "LightSquared, if I have to, I'll put it into bankruptcy. I don't care."

Well, he cares a little, noting that bankruptcy is "not what I want, not what I desire. I'd rather find a different way out."

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