Report: LightSquared contemplates IPO for this summer

LightSquared is considering filing for an initial public offering as early as this summer, according to a Reuters report, news that ratchets up the intrigue around the Harbinger Capital Partners-backed firm's funding future.

According to the report, which cited unnamed sources, LightSquared has been discussing its business plan with analysts and institutional investors. LightSquared executives met last week in New York City with analysts from Morgan Stanley as well as with officials from several mutual funds. The company is trying to organize a similar get-together on the West Coast next month, the report said. 

A LightSquared spokeswoman declined to comment.

The question of how LightSquared will fund its aggressive buildout has dogged the company since it was formed last year. LightSquared is conducting LTE trials in Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with commercial launches planned by the third quarter of this year. The company has committed to cover 100 million POPs by the end of 2012, 145 million by the end of 2013 and 260 million by the end of 2015. Harbinger has invested around $3 billion in the firm so far, and an IPO could be a way to diversify LightSquared's funding sources.

LightSquared is in negotiations with 15 companies that want to use its wholesale LTE network. "There are 60-plus discussions, and 15 of those are at a stage where we are negotiating contracts with our customers," LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja recently told the Financial Times. Further, LightSquared said in March it signed a wholesale deal with Best Buy to have the retailer's Best Buy Connect service ride on its planned LTE network; Best Buy will begin trials on LightSquared's network in the first quarter of 2012. The announcement came right on the heels of an LTE roaming deal LightSquared inked with Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP).

Still, LightSquared's plans remain in flux: The company is facing pressure over GPS interference concerns on its L-Band spectrum and will need billions of dollars in capital to meet its aggressive buildout timetable.    

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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