11.30.10

Surely you can’t be serious?

Posted in Financials, Handheld, Inmarsat, Operators, Spectrum, TerreStar at 5:51 pm by timfarrar

TerreStar has finally filed the exhibits to its Disclosure Statement which set out more details about its Genus business plan and the valuation of its spectrum, and though I don’t think Blackstone are paying tribute to Leslie Nielsen when they respond “I am serious” (and don’t call me Shirley), their Genus business plan has caused much mirth in the MSS industry.

I’ve previously pointed out the similarities to the launch of Iridium (and ironically Blackstone were also the financial advisers to Motorola in their attempts to restructure Iridium after it filed for bankruptcy in 1999). Just as back then, it seems hard to understand how TerreStar can hope to capture 41K subscribers with an average wholesale ARPU of $50 by the end of 2011, let alone 156K subscribers with an average wholesale ARPU of $42 by the end of 2014 (almost equal to the size of the entire North American handheld MSS market today), given the reception that the Genus phone has received so far in the market, and the recent laughable attempt to sell the phone to consumers.

However, it is interesting that TerreStar has now initiated a formal sale process for its assets in an attempt to gauge their market value. This has also generated some amusing responses, but of more interest is whether this means TerreStar has reached a deal with Harbinger to avoid a fight over the “unsecured creditors’ entitlement to excess value of TerreStar-2 (after repayment of the Purchase Money Credit Agreement)” which is acknowledged in the Liquidation Analysis to be an issue of contention (and is presumable one reason why Harbinger has been buying up TerreStar Networks’ 6.5% Exchangeable Notes). Certainly, this process would be an obvious way to find out whether one or other of the European S-band licensees (Inmarsat and Solaris) really is interested in buying the TerreStar-2 ground spare, in order to meet their license obligations to the European Commission, and to see whether the $200M valuation placed on this satellite by an appraisal back in August can actually be realized in practice.

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