‘Bankruptcy’ may loom for LightSquared

April 5, 2012

LightSquared, the capital venture whose plan to build a wireless network imploded because its technology blocked GPS signals, may file for bankruptcy, said published reports.

Several news organizations reported this week that the hedge-fund-financed company, of Reston, Va., has until April 30 to persuade bondholders not to pull the plug, despite big losses in 2011 and a Federal Communications Commission order in February revoking the network’s conditional network approval.

Philip Falcone, manager of the hedge fund that has invested about $3 billion in LightSquared, said that a “voluntary bankruptcy” might be a way to keep the company alive in a bid to complete the network, reports said. He was also reported looking into signal-filtering technology to solve interference problems.

The Reuters news service reported that creditors of Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners might force LightSquared into bankruptcy if he cannot forge a deal by the end of April. The report said several other hedge funds were considering holding LightSquared in default of a $1.6 billion loan.

LightSquared first won conditional approval to proceed with its network in January 2011. Since then, opposition from private-sector and government agencies has focused on technical data from FCC-ordered tests that proved that the network’s powerful ground transmitting bases overwhelmed the weaker GPS signals.

The FCC revoked its approval in February in a proceeding that AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association urged be expeditiously closed. Also in February, LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja resigned.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.