LightSquared Files New Plan to Keep Ergen Away: The Deal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Philip Falcone-backed wireless telecom LightSquared Inc. will ask a bankruptcy judge on Monday, Dec. 30, for permission to amend its reorganization plan without re-soliciting votes from creditors.

LightSquared filed a stand-alone reorganization plan on Christmas Eve, with support from Fortress Investment Group LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Melody Capital Advisors LLC and Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners LLC.

The financing underlying the plan is part of Falcone's efforts to keep LightSquared intact, and out of the hands of Charlie Ergen, CEO of Dish Networks (DISH). The revised plan contains a $2.5 billion senior secured exit facility, a $250 million senior secured loan and at least $1.25 billion in new equity contributions. The deal came shortly after a refinancing deal with Centerbridge Partners LP fell apart.

An affiliate of Dish has submitted a $2.22 billion offer for the assets of the LightSquared LP unit, which includes the debtor's most attractive wireless spectrum licenses. LightSquared has been unable to deploy a wireless broadband network on the licenses because of interference with GPS signals that transmit on nearby wavelengths.

The Federal Communications Commission initially backed a waiver that would allow LightSquared to provide wholesale services. The agency withdrew its support in early 2012, however, amidst opposition from GPS providers, The Department of Defense and others who argued that LightSquared's transmissions would disrupt positioning systems.

Uncertainty about LightSquared's ability to reach a spectrum deal with the FCC has complicated efforts to raise financing or sell its assets. A strong point in favor of Ergen's bid is that Dish would buy the assets without approval from the FCC.

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