Wireless

Judge Dismisses Dish/Harbinger Suit

Move Paves Way For Bids on LightSquared Spectrum 10/30/2013 11:06 AM Eastern

A federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners earlier this year that claimed Dish Network attempted to wrest control of bankrupt wireless company LightSquared through a series of shady loans.

Harbinger Capital, headed by hedge fund guru Philip Falcone, had claimed that Dish and its chairman Charlie Ergen, had amassed a series of loans to become LightSquared’s biggest lender and then use that position to wrest control of the company from Falcone. On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Shelley Chapman ruled from the bench, dismissing the charges against Dish.

“Dish is pleased Judge Chapman has dismissed all charges against it this afternoon,” Dish said in a statement Tuesday. “The company looks forward to pursuing its bid in the upcoming auction for the LightSquared assets."

LightSquared had planned to build a nationwide ultra-high speed wireless data network, but ran into problems regarding its technology and a lack of funding. It filed for bankruptcy protection in May after the Federal Communications Commission temporarily stopped it from building out the network on concerns it would interfere with GPS satellite frequencies. Harbinger sued Dish in August,  seeking $4 billion in damages.

Dish emerged as the stalking horse bidder for LightSquared assets in July, pledging $2.2 billion for LightSquared’s assets, which include a slice of 46 Megahertz L-Band MSS wireless spectrum. Dish is expected to be the leading bidder for the assets in the bankruptcy court auction.