Report: Harbinger to allow more 'direct investments' in LightSquared

Harbinger Capital Partners, the hedge fund behind wholesale LTE player LightSquared, is restructuring to allow investors to more easily make "direct investments" in the wireless firm, according to a Reuters report.

Harbinger's chief, Philip Falcone, told investors about the restructuring Friday in an email obtained by Reuters. The new plan "will facilitate direct investments by existing and prospective investors in the master fund's holdings in LightSquared and the management of such holdings," according to the email. According to Reuters, the plan will create a new class of shares to hold Harbinger's equity stake in LightSquared, which plans to launch a commercial, wholesale LTE network this year.

LightSquared spokeswoman Audrey Schaefer referred questions to Harbinger spokesman Scott Bruce, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There has been a great deal of speculation about LightSquared recently, but little clarity on its customers. LightSquared CMO Frank Boulben told FierceWireless last month that the company has signed wholesale deals with two U.S. operators. According to a separate Bloomberg report, LightSquared also has inked deals with a national retailer, a device manufacturer and a website. The Bloomberg report said LightSquared is holding negotiations with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) to lease Sprint's cell sites and network equipment in a bid to build out its wholesale LTE network faster. Flat-rate carrier MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) recently indicated that it supports LightSquared's plan, but did not confirm that it has partnered with the company. 

LightSquared, which just secured a $586 million loan from from UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co., has an aggressive buildout schedule. The company is conducting LTE trials in Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with commercial launches planned by the third quarter of this year. Nokia Siemens Networks is designing and building the network. Nokia (NYSE:NOK), AnyData and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) are working on devices. LightSquared, which has access to a total of 59 MHz of spectrum, has said its network will consist of around 40,000 cellular base stations covering 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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