Hedge Fund Buys Up LightSquared Debt

Apr 5 2013 | 11:44am ET

Another hedge fund has emerged as a player—or stalking horse—in the bankruptcy of Harbinger Capital Management's wireless Internet venture.

Sound Point Capital Management has bough up more than $600 million of LightSquared's $1.7 billion bank loan over the past year. It's unclear what the hedge fund's plans are as Harbinger's exclusive window of control over LightSquared's bankruptcy draws to a close. But Sound Point's links to Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen has some wondering whether that company is planning a play for LightSquared.

Dish is barred by LightSquared's loan agreement from buying the company's debt. But Sound Point is led by former Bank of America and UBS banker Stephen Ketchum, a longtime partner of Ergen's, and Dish has been raising, sparking rumors that it would try to buy LightSquared, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sound Point has bought LightSquared debt held by Carl Icahn and Fortress Investment Group, as the bonds have more than doubled in value. The hedge fund has also bought some preferred stock and began buying more of the bank debt at the beginning of the year.

LightSquared has sole control over its bankruptcy until July 15, after which its lenders will be permitted to offer competing plans. The company is still waiting for a decision from federal regulators on whether it can switch its current spectrum for other government-owned spectrum; its planned network on its current airwaves has been found to interfere with global positioning systems. Dish is also seeking additional spectrum.

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