Harbinger's Falcone: LightSquared will file IPO eventually

LightSquared will at some point file for an initial public offering, according to Philip Falcone, the head of the hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, which backs the wholesale LTE firm. This is the first time Harbinger has publicly acknowledged that an IPO is in the offing.

"While it is not public today, we fully expect it to be public down the road," he said at the Ira Sohn Investment conference in New York City, according to the Wall Street Journal. Harbinger has invested around $3 billion so far in LightSquared, and Falcone said LightSquared is his "largest position by far." An IPO would be a way for LightSquared to diversify its funding sources.

Falcone did not indicate when LightSquared might file for an IPO, how large it might be or what would have to happen before the company went public. A Harbinger spokesman, Steve Bruce, declined to comment beyond Falcone's remarks.

According to an April Reuters report, which cited unnamed sources, LightSquared has discussed its business plan with analysts and institutional investors. 

LightSquared has signed up several wireless carriers as customers, including Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and Cellular South. Reports also have indicated that LightSquared has explored the possibility of a network-sharing deal with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). LightSquared intends to launch technical trial markets by year-end and launch commercial service in the first half of 2012.

Still, questions of how LightSquared's terrestrial network will impact GPS signals continue to persist. The company has been testing its network near Las Vegas to see how much it interferes with GPS. A final report on the matter is due to the FCC by June 15.

For more:
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)

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