Harbinger Sues GPS Users Over LightSquared Troubles

Aug 12 2013 | 1:33pm ET

Harbinger Capital Partners continued to add defendants as part of its battle to retain control of its wireless Internet venture.

The hedge fund last week sued Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen, accusing him of secretly buying up more than half of LightSquared's bank debt in a fraudulent effort to block the company's exit from bankruptcy and to allow himself to buy up LightSquared's share of the magnetic spectrum on the cheap. Now, Harbinger is going after the companies it blames for forcing LightSquared into bankruptcy in the first place: the global-positioning system users it claims have been using its spectrum.

LightSquared's planned nationwide wireless network was blocked by federal regulators concerned about possible interference with GPS. But according to Harbinger, nothing was done about that difficulty because GPS users negotiated with LightSquared in bad faith.

The hedge fund sued Deere & Co., Garmin International, Trimble Navigation, the U.S. GPS Council and the Coalition to Save Our GPS, seeking nearly $2 billion in damages. It alleges that Harbinger spent years trying to resolve its conflicts with the companies, but that the companies hid the fact that their devices were using spectrum owned by LightSquared.

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