Dish chief given controlling stake in rival telecoms firm

Ollie Gordon
CHARLIE Ergen, chairman of US broadcast satellite service provider Dish, is to receive a 60 per cent controlling stake in LightSquared under the terms of the American wireless broadband company’s new restructuring plan, a New York court declared on Monday.

The deal sees control of LightSquared move from its owner, hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, to its largest lender, Dish.

Harbinger – headed by Phil Falcone – had been battling to retain control of the company by breaking it up, while LightSquared’s lawyers pushed to keep it together. The deal avoids a breakup and instead shares out equity to the company’s lenders.

It provides Ergen with 60 per cent of the new equity in the restructured company in addition to $1bn (£625m) in new junior debt. JP Morgan, another lender, will receive 31.9 per cent of equity plus a seat on the board in exchange for its debt and $189m in funding.