No longer “highly confident”…

Posted in DISH, Financials, LightSquared, Operators, Regulatory, Spectrum at 6:11 pm by timfarrar

Back on May 31, LightSquared asserted in its motion to retain Jefferies as placement agent for its exit financing that “both LightSquared and Jefferies are highly confident [that the retention] will lead to fully committed financing in an amount likely in excess of the face amount of the Prepetition LP Obligations, the Prepetition Inc. Obligations, and the DIP Obligations at relatively low costs to the LightSquared estates”. Two weeks ago, I noted that LightSquared had been forced to scale down its planned $3B debt raise to $2B, and would seek to force Ergen/Sound Point to accept PIK second lien debt instead of being repaid from the exit facility.

However, on Friday night LightSquared acknowledged that exclusivity had been lost and that competing plans for reorganization would be filed, followed by an auction of the company. Moreover, I’m told that today LightSquared and Jefferies dropped the planned exit financing facility completely (not just putting it “on hold” as was reported last week).

Falcone apparently told potential investors that he was unwilling to go forward because the facility was “too expensive” (with warrants for 15% of LightSquared’s equity being granted upfront to potential lenders). However, I understand that the change of direction appears to have resulted from LightSquared being hauled over the coals by the bankruptcy court last week for ignoring Ergen’s $2B cash offer, and the judge was unwilling to accept LightSquared’s contingent reorganization plan, which would have only been funded after FCC approval was received. As the Secured Lenders noted in their submission on July 9:

“Since these Chapter 11 Cases were filed over a year ago, the Debtors have told the Court repeatedly that the only way to realize value is to pursue a resolution of their regulatory problems with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), and that all they needed was sufficient “runway” to achieve their objective. When the Cases were filed in May 2012, the Debtors believed they needed about six months to get there. In January 2013, during the exclusivity hearing, the Debtors’ management testified that they still needed about six months to clear the regulatory hurdles to value maximization. Today, they claim that their elusive objective remains six months or more away…In reality, the Debtors have no idea whether or when they will ever get regulatory approval.”

Now LightSquared has set out a lengthy timetable for an auction in December 2013 (which is already subject to an objection from the Secured Lenders), because (in fantasyland) Harbinger is apparently highly confident that the FCC will approve LightSquared’s request in November, enabling them to raise money for a counterbid on the back of that approval, before the auction actually takes place. However, even if LightSquared’s proposed timetable is approved (and it appears that the judge is actually losing patience with the company’s repeated delays), it seems rather more likely that Falcone is instead going to be 0 for 3 in his battles with Ergen (with LightSquared following the path trodden by DBSD and TerreStar).

I suppose at least for the time being, Phil can still tell everyone he’s “highly confident” that he will ultimately win his battle with the SEC, but again perhaps he now shouldn’t be as highly confident as in May when he “blindsided SEC officials” by publicly declaring that he’d escaped with a “slap on one wrist“.

1 Comment »

  1. TMF Associates MSS blog » LightSquared’s time machine… said,

    December 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    [...] As we head towards the holiday season, LightSquared’s attempts to find an alternative to being bought by Charlie Ergen are becoming ever more desperate, as the December 24 deadline to put forward an alternative plan approaches and the company takes a “time machine back to the summer…to formulate from scratch their own refinancing plan …like the failed effort with Jefferies.” [...]

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