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Inmarsat $ISAT Says LightSquared $SKYT Default Likely

HARBINGER“Inmarsat Plc (ISAT), the biggest provider of satellite services to the maritime industry, said payments from LightSquared Inc. (SKYT) related to a spectrum-cooperation accord remain highly uncertain,” reports Bloomberg. “LightSquared failed to pay Inmarsat $29.6 million due March 31, triggering a notice of default under the terms of their cooperation accord, the London-based company said in a statement today. LightSquared had already missed a payment of $56.3 million in February.”

Under the agreement between Inmarsat and LightSquared, the former was to give the latter  access to part of its spectrum. According to Bloomberg, Inmarsat is in discussions regarding the future of the agreement.
LightSquared is a company that developed a technology that would allow it to use the nation’s global positioning services (GPS) to provide wireless access. The technology would would mean that even users in areas that do not currently have coverage would have access to both voice and data services. However, it has not been able to receive government approval. Several government agencies, such as the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing National Executive Committee, have actively advised against its network.
Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners is LightSquared’s primary shareholder. To date, it has sunk roughly $3 billion in the company. “For Falcone’s investors there seems to be little good news on the horizon however. February’s poor performance numbers follow similarly bad numbers for 2011 when the fund lost 47 percent because the LightSquared investment had to be revalued,” writes Reuters. “Investors and outside analysts said the most recent numbers could suggest that Harbinger was forced to write down the value of LightSquared even more this year, leaving its carrying value at a little over half a billion dollars now. It had once been closer to $3 billion.”

After not receiving the necessary approvals, LightSquared lost out on a partnership with Sprint Nextel (S). Under the agreement, Sprint was to build and operate the network for LightSquared. After Sprint ended the deal, it returned $65 million in prepayments to LightSquared, but running a company without any income is a losing proposition. LightSquared recently announced it is laying off almost half of its 330-member staff. With all this, it is no wonder that the company is having a hard time meeting its debt obligations.

Sprint has said that it would reopen talks with LightSquared if it gets the necessary approval, and LightSquared is continuing to fight for approval, but it looks like time may be running out if meeting its debt obligations is becoming a problem.

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